From Hollywood Elks Lodge
Veterans Day honors men
and women who have served in the United States armed services. Veterans Day is a
legal federal holiday in the United States. It is celebrated on November 11th.
The United Kingdom celebrates November 11 as Armistice Day. It is not a legal
holiday, but special observances celebrate the armistice that ended World War I
on Nov. 11, 1918. Canada has a legal holiday called Remembrance Day that is
celebrated on November 11. Veterans Day celebrations in the United States
include parades and speeches. Special services are held at the Tomb of the
Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day to remind Americans of the tragedies of war. A 1938 law made the day a federal holiday. In 1954, Congress changed the holiday's name to Veterans Day to honor all United States veterans.
The date was chosen by General John Joseph "Blackjack" Pershing and the following explains how:
The complete story of General Pershing's forethought and devotion to our country and our Order that has made it, and us, an important part of the history of our nation and the world forever.
Born on Sept. 13,1860, in Laclede, MO, John Joseph "Blackjack" Pershing was initiated into El Paso, TX, Lodge No. 187 in 1888 (Lodge at Mexican border while Pershing was stationed there).
Following his graduation from West Point in 1886, his rise through the ranks was meteoric based on numerous successful campaigns in Arizona, Mexico and the Philippines, and on June 9, 1917, Brigadier General Pershing arrived in England as the Presidentially-appointed Commander in Chief of the U.S. Expeditionary Forces for the European theater of WW I. In return for his subsequent victories, President Wilson granted him the right to choose the specific time for the Armistice, and as loyal and upright Elk, Pershing chose the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918; an Elk imprint on the U.S. and the World which has lasted to the present, although the current legislature is considering moving Veterans Day (the modern descendant of Armistice Day) away from November 11th, much to the dislike of Elks everywhere.
After the close of WW I, Pershing was raised by Congress in 1919 to the unique and highest rank only once before bestowed (on George Washington) - General of the Armies. The title was retired and never granted again in modern history when Pershing retired from active duty in 1941. He was a dedicated Elk- and visited Lodges whenever time permitted where he was rightfully given celebrity treatment, especially the banquet thrown by New York Lodge No.1 on his triumphant return to the Big Apple in 1918. He remained an Elk continuously until his death on July 15, 1948.