by Mike Keeler
On November 11, 1918, “the war to end all wars” ended. Armistice occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
In 1926, Congress passed a resolution declaring November 11 to be a day of observation, and directed that on that day the U.S. flag should be flown at every federal building.
In 1931, a small memorial was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington honoring the 499 Washingtonians who gave their lives in World War I.
In 1938, an act of Congress was passed making November 11 a federal holiday, to honor the veterans of World War 1, and to be known as “Armistice Day.”
In 1954, Armistice Day was expanded to honor veterans of all of the nation’s wars, and to be known as “Veterans Day.”
In 2008, Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last surviving veteran of the World War I, visited the National Mall at the age of 107. He noted the extreme disrepair of the DC memorial, and issued a call that it should be repaired and rededicated as a national memorial honoring ALL U.S. veterans of the Great War.
In March 2011, Frank Buckles died, while refurbishments of the DC World War I memorial were underway. He was buried with full honors at Arlington; his family was visited there by President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Last Friday the memorial was rededicated at 10AM. However, due to the objection of several groups in the District of Columbia, including the National Capital Memorial Committee, the memorial remains dedicated to DC veterans only.
Accordingly the United States has no national memorial honoring ALL the veterans of World War I, the third bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history.
Here’s what you can do: At some point this week give a thought to the 116,516 Americans who gave their lives in the Great War. After that, visit wwimemorial.org and find out how you can support Senate Bill 2097, the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act, and help create a National World War I Memorial.