The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Government, History & Biography

Celebrate Veterans Day

Originally called Armistice Day, November 11 commemorated the end of World War I. At that time the war was called The Great War, or The War to End All Wars. The armistice between the Allied nations and the Central Powers went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918.

Armistice Day was made a U.S. federal holiday in 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all of the members of the U.S. Armed Services, past and present.

Traditionally the President of the United States lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia. Similar events happen in towns and cities across America.

Great Britain, France, Canada and Australia hold Remembrance Day observances on or near November 11. In Great Britain, wreaths of poppies are placed at the Cenotaph, a London war memorial. A two minute silence is observed at 11 a.m.

Armistice Day was not traditionally observed in Germany. However, in 2009 German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined French President Nicolas Sarkozy for public Armistice Day celebrations held in Paris.

A Veterans Day parade will be held in Springfield on Saturday, November 5. The parade will begin at the intersection of Benton and Commercial Streets at 11 a.m. At 2:30 p.m. on November 5, the Library Center will show "The Big Parade", a classic World War I film featuring John Gilbert, part of the "Great Silents on the Silver Screen" film series.

These Web sites have more information about the history and observance of Veterans Day and the U.S. Armed Forces:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: History of Veterans Day

The Smithsonian Institution Exhibit: The Price of Freedom

The Veterans History Project welcomes veteran participation.

 Books about the First World War found in the Library catalog include:

Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour : Armistice Day, 1918, World War I and its Violent Climax  by Joseph E. Persico

The First World War : a Concise Global History by William Kelleher Storey

An Illustrated History of the First World War by John Keegan

The Greatest Day in History : How, On the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month, the First World War Finally Came to an End by Nicholas Best

World War I : Day by Day by Ian Westwell

DVDs of related interest:

 The Great War. the Complete History of World War I

 World War I : the Great War

 WWI : The War to End All Wars

Blood and Oil. The Middle East in World War I

Find this article at