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This Veterans Day Marks 100 Years Since WWI Ended

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By Tom Konecny

Exactly 116,708 American military personnel died during World War I, the third-most war casualties in U.S. history behind the Civil War and World War II. Another 204,000 were wounded in military action.

All of this is significant as we honor Veterans Day on an important milestone. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, which took place on November 11, 1918. World War I began in July 1914, and America joined the effort in 1917 – much later than other countries. President Woodrow Wilson insisted that American was “too proud to fight,” yet called for an end to attacks on passenger ships, such as when a German U-boat sank a British liner in 1915 with 128 Americans aboard. Wilson tried to mediate a settlement, and although Germany briefly complied with the request to end attacks on passenger ships, they later decided to resume unrestricted submarine warfare.

The armistice between the Allies and Germany was the agreement that ended the fighting in Europe. The word armistice comes from the Latin term “arma,” which means “arms,” and “stitium,” which means “stoppage.” Although it ended the actual fighting, it took six more months of negotiations at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference before the Treaty of Versailles was completed and signed on June 28 that year. Armistice Day – which later became Veterans Day – became a national holiday in 1926 after a Congressional resolution. Twelve years later, another Act of Congress made it a legal holiday. By 1954, this day of honor was renamed Veterans Day in recognition of those who served during World War II and the Korean War.

The United States emerged from World War I as a world military and industrial leader. And unlike war-torn cities in Europe, American homes were relatively unharmed by the “war to end all wars.” Although the late entry of America meant fewer soldiers lost their lives compared to other world powers, there’s no denying the importance and solemnity of this landmark occasion.

This November 11, be sure to thank a vet and pray for those who had already lost their lives by the time World War I ended 100 years ago.

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