November 11 and the American Legion

Honoring our Veterans.
Honoring our Veterans.
World War I Memorial, Rosendale, New York
World War I Memorial, Rosendale, New York
This WWI soldier never came home.
This WWI soldier never came home.
WWII on the island of Saipan
WWII on the island of Saipan

Veterans Day - November 11 History

November 11 History - November 11, Veteran's Day - the end of the "war to end all wars." Ironically the armistice was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month...and when I wrote this it was the "eleventh year", 2011. But all holds true now no matter what the year.

At 11:00 a.m., November 11th, the Allied Nations and Germany signed an armistice to cease the fighting. The actual Treaty of Versailles wasn't signed until June 28, 1919, but the fighting had already stopped. (An armistice is an agreement to stop fighting, or as Merriam-Webster states, "a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement between opponents") Believe it or not there are people who confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day -- a different hub altogether.

In November of 1919 President Wilson officially proclaimed November 11 Armistice Day, with 11:00 a.m. being the particular hour of this legal holiday. This was a day to honor the veterans of World War I. Also known as Poppy Day and Remembrance Day. The United States isn't the only country to observe a commemoration of Armistice Day, the United Kingdom observes the day and added two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, Canada observes the day calling it Remembrance Day, Australia calls it Anzac Day and it is a holiday, New Zealand, Belgium, France, and other countries throughout the world have set aside this day as a memorial to all veterans, both living and dead.

In 1958 President Eisenhower officially changed the name of Armistice Day to Veteran's Day. His Veterans Day proclamation included the words:

"In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."

Unfortunately, as we know, the war to end all wars was not to be so, time and man's inability to get along together with man's inhumanity toward man, added World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Gulf War, and now the War in Iraq and Afghanistan. We honor all of the veterans of all of the wars on Veterans Day. Schools teach children about Veterans Day and the need to remember the wars and ways to try to avoid doing the same horrible things again. We need to remember our veterans and what they stand for. The sacrifices they have made should never go unappreciated or unheralded. They make the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in peace.

On Veterans Day in the United States, there are parades and ceremonies held nationwide from the President of the United States laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns, the national observance, to small towns holding small ceremonies to remember their dead and living veterans. Additionally, we remember all of the mothers and wives who lost their loved ones....a sacrifice they did not sign up to make.

US and MIA Flags

Flags in Rosendale
Flags in Rosendale

American Legions Are Everywhere in the US

American Legion building in Seward, Alaska
American Legion building in Seward, Alaska

Learn More About the American Legion

The American Legion

What is the American Legion? The American Legion is a national veterans organization chartered by the United States Congress. The American Legion was founded in 1919 by veterans returning from Europe after World War I, and was later chartered under Title 36 of the United States Code. The American Legion is a very active organization. Commonly called "the Legion", the Legion is responsible for organizing local veterans celebrations, offering local community services, and lobbying on behalf of veterans. In 1932 the Sons of the American Legion was begun; a branch of the Legion that allows sons of Legion members and/or sons of those who died in service to belong to the Legion. There is a State Commander who coordinates Legions statewide, as well as a National Headquarters.

Membership Eligibility

Eligibility for American Legion membership is limited to those honorably discharged veterans and current personnel of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Air Force who served at least one day of active duty during any of the following periods:

  • World War I: April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918
  • World War II: December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946, except that for theU.S. Merchant Marineeligibility dates are December 7, 1941, to August 16, 1945)
  • Korean War: June 25, 1950, to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War: February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975
  • 1982 Lebanon WarandOperation Urgent Fury(Grenada): August 24, 1982, to July 31, 1984
  • Operation Just Cause(Panama): December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990
  • Gulf War(Desert Shield,Desert Storm,Operation Enduring Freedom, andOperation Iraqi Freedom): August 2, 1990, until cessation of hostilities as determined by the U.S. government

In 1935 the first Boys State convened in Illinois. Boys State, started by the American Legion, allows participants to learn about the rights, privileges and responsibilities of being an American citizen. At an annual gathering classes are taught that include governmental organization and budgeting, the electoral process, getting into college and the Bill of Rights. A special introduction for special boys chosen by their schools to participate.

American Legion Activities

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bench donated by Legion Ladies Auxiliary.American Legion dedication of a Veteran's MonumentTwenty one gun saluteAmerican Legion flagsMemorial Day ParadeEveryone joins in...Memorial Day Remembrance Celebration.American Legion Flag Day CelebrationHonoring "Wounded Warriors" who came to spend a weekend in our area.Legion Riders line up to honor "Wounded Warriors".
Bench donated by Legion Ladies Auxiliary.
Bench donated by Legion Ladies Auxiliary.
American Legion dedication of a Veteran's Monument
American Legion dedication of a Veteran's Monument
Twenty one gun salute
Twenty one gun salute
American Legion flags
American Legion flags
Memorial Day Parade
Memorial Day Parade
Everyone joins in...Memorial Day Remembrance Celebration.
Everyone joins in...Memorial Day Remembrance Celebration.
American Legion Flag Day Celebration
American Legion Flag Day Celebration
Honoring "Wounded Warriors" who came to spend a weekend in our area.
Honoring "Wounded Warriors" who came to spend a weekend in our area.
Legion Riders line up to honor "Wounded Warriors".
Legion Riders line up to honor "Wounded Warriors".

American Legion Flag Burning

Flag burning ceremony held by American Legion in conjunction with Boy Scouts
Flag burning ceremony held by American Legion in conjunction with Boy Scouts

Local American Legions sponsor amateur baseball teams known as American Legion Baseball, donate money to needy organizations or individuals, march in parades, conduct memorial services, provide color guards for funerals of veterans, and the list goes on.

In addition to all of the things listed the American Legion provides a place for veterans to continue their service to their country and to show the community what our veterans have done and continue to do for us.

All photos and the video used in this hub are property of Tillsontitan and may not be used or reproduced without express permission.

American Legion of Veteran's Day

Flags at Veterans Day Ceremony
Flags at Veterans Day Ceremony

November 11 and the American Legion

As veterans the American Legions across the country hold Veterans Day as a very special memorial day and observe it in many ways. There are ceremonies held that remind the general public of the sacrifices made for us. Wreaths are placed on tombs, prayers are recited, speeches are given, and many end with the twenty-one gun salute.

If you've never been present at a twenty-one gun salute you are missing a truly moving patriotic moment. The sound of the guns splitting the silence is a true reminder of what these men and women faced for us. We are hearing that sound in the comfort of our own neighborhood surrounded by those we love....they did not have that privilege in war!

A search of the Internet for "American Legion and Veterans Day" will result in pages and pages of events scheduled throughout the country. Some Legion Posts distribute poppies to commemorate the blood spilled on the battlefield, many hold ceremonies, some lead parades, some hold breakfasts or fundraisers, and the list goes on.

The American Legion is not only a great organization for veterans but for us..the general public. They are a reminder of what has been done for us and what continues to be done for us by a select group of men and women who leave family and home to keep our family and homes safe. We need to remember, we must never forget what has happened in any war. It is a reminder of what this country has seen and what sacrifices have been made in our name.

If you don't think about veterans at any other time, stop and if you don't pray at least observe a moment of silence for all of the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for you on this and every Veterans Day.

Local American Legion

Our American Legion Post is very active and holds a Veterans ceremony every Veterans Day. It is a moving ceremony but I have noticed the numbers attending are dwindling, something that needs to be addressed so that we never forget what our military has done and continues to do for us.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

Actually only twelve guns fired

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Comments 14 comments

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

There is no official celebration on November 11 in my country, though our people had fought in the World Wars. Thanks for this thought provoking hub.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK

Here in the UK we have the Royal British Legion, but I knew nothing about the American Legion, so a very informative hub.


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

Hello, tillsontitan,

First, this is a useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting post.

Second, thank you very much for taking the time to write and publish it. In my opinion, you have performed a public service.

Finally, and for me, this is a very educational article. I learned a lot of things I did not know.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

Feenix, from reading your hubs I know you were military so your praise is truly an honor. Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed and learned from my hub.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

this one looks good re: contest, just checking for you.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

Thanks so much!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I never realised about the American Legion either, so this was interesting, and so topical for this month, nice one Mary! voted up!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Nell. I wrote it last year and thought it would be a good time to resurrect it. My husband belongs to the American Legion and I must admit I didn't know anything about it until a few years back.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

What a wonderful hub, Mary. Honor Flight takes Veterans of WWII to the memorial in Washington DC. They are very big where I live...I wrote a hub last year about them. We must honor and remember our veterans wherever we can while we still have them with us.

You are right about people confusing Veterans Day with Memorial Day. Our current president did. He spoke on Memorial Day (honoring dead soldiers) and said that they were honoring many gathered together in the audience today. Whoops! Sad when the Commander in Chief can't keep them straight.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

More than sad Sinea, scary! Thanks for reading and commenting. Its an old hub but I thought it was time to resurrect it. I looked for your hub on Honor Flight but couldn't find it.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi, I realized that we 'celebrate' it on the Sunday near to the eleventh, but you keep to your actual date. we call it Remembrance Sunday. Came back for another read, nell


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks so much Nell. Always a treat when someone like you comes back!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

I am glad you refreshed this evergreen piece, Mary, as I had missed it the first time around. I learned some fascinating information, as I always do when I visit your writing.

Hoping you and hubby are doing OK...thinking of you often and sending hugs, Maria


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

So glad you found this hub and appreciated it Maria. I can't thank you enough for all your support and encouragement...you're the best. Hugs and love back to you.

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