World War I officially ended in June 1919. But the fighting between the Allies and Germans ceased seven months prior, when an armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
A member of the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps plays during at a 2014 Veterans Day ceremony in Folger Park on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
President Woodrow Wilson marked the first commemoration of Armistice Day in November 1919 with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations ..."
In 1938, an act approved by Congress made Nov. 11 a legal holiday — a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. With the approval of further legislation in 1954, it became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Brigadier Gen. David Creagh of Australia watches World War II era aircraft fly over the World War II Memorial on May 8 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in Europe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Former Sens. John Warner, left, and Bob Dole watch World War II era aircraft from the World War II Memorial to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Warner served in the Navy and Marines, and Dole was wounded in WWII while serving in the Army. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Warner and Dole talk with Jon Naar, 95, who served with the the British Special Operations Executive, during a ceremony at World War II Memorial in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
World War II veteran John R. Pedevillano, 93, attends a July ceremony in Russell building where he received a Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster. He served in the 306th Bomb Group as a bombardier and flew six missions before being shot down and taken prisoner by the Nazis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Pedevillano, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, was shot down and taken prisoner by the Nazis during WWII. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Harry Ettlinger, one World War II's "Monuments Men," is escorted off the stage after making remarks during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Oct. 22. Ettlinger served as a translator for the Monuments Men, a division that tracked down looted artwork, during World War II. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Luke Cifka, of Olympia, Wash., an Army veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan, shares a moment with his wife Kaitlin, and son Wyatt, 2, in the Senate Reception Room. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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