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Military Quotes

It is the unconquerable nature of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses that ensures victory.

-- General George Patton Jr

Veterans Day

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Origins

In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe).

11/11/11

These memorial services all took place on November 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I at 11:00 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month), which became known as Armistice Day.

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

Armistice Day officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Tomb of the Unknowns

Official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns.

To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of "Taps."

Unknown Soldier Identified

On Memorial Day (which honors U.S. service people who died in action) in 1958, two more unidentified American war dead, one from World War II and the other from the Korean War, were buried next the unknown soldier of World War I.

A law was passed in 1973 providing interment of an unknown American from the Vietnam War, but because of the improved technology to identify the dead, it was not until 1984 that an unidentified soldier was buried in the tomb.

In 1998, however, the Vietnam soldier was identified through DNA tests as Michael Blassie, a 24-year-old Air Force pilot who was shot down in May of 1972 near the Cambodian border. His body was disinterred and reburied by his family in St. Louis, Missouri.
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This Day in History
1775: As troubles with Great Britain increase, colonists in Massachusetts vote to buy military equipment for 15,000 men.

1862: Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley attack Union troops commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory. The first major engagement of the war in the far West, the battle produces heavy casualties but no decisive result.

1916: The battle of Verdun begins with an unprecedented German artillery barrage of the French lines.

1944: Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan, grabs even more power as he takes over as army chief of staff, a position that gives him direct control of the Japanese military.

1951: The U. S. Eighth Army launches Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese forces north of the Han River in Korea.

1951: After a two-month detachment to the ROK Army, the 1st ROK Marine Regiment rejoined the U.S. 1st Marine Division.

1953: An intermittent battle of more than nine hours on T-Bone Hill ultimately forced the U.N. troops to withdraw from this outpost.