Hostilities of World War I temporarily came to a halt at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Allied nations and Germany declared an armistice, a temporary cessation of battle. Even though “the Great War” did not end officially until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919, as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of war.
In 1921, an unidentified soldier killed during World War I was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. On that same day, unidentified soldiers were also buried at Westminister Abbey in London and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
On May 13, 1938, Congress made Nov. 11 a federal holiday. In deference to the veterans of World War II (1941-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953), veterans service organizations lobbied Congress to change the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954, and since then, the November holiday now honors American veterans of all wars.
An unidentified soldier is seen here playing a trumpet during the largest Armistice Day parade ever held in Fort Worth on Nov. 11, 1939.
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The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries offers a rich and diverse collection of materials on the history of Texas and the Southwest. Each week, readers get a glimpse of the past with an image from Special Collections. 817-272-3393; library.uta.edu/special-collections.