In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 to be Armistice Day to recognize the end to fighting that occurred when an November 1918 armistice eventually led to the Treaty of Versailles being signed in June 1919 and the official end of World War I, according to The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. King George V did the same in the United Kingdom, according to the BBC. Canadian Parliament passed an “Armistice Day bill” in 1921, according to the Canadian War Museum. Other Allied countries remember veterans with similar days.
Veterans Day, Remembrance Day: United States, Commonwealth Countries Say ‘Thank You’
Children attend the New York Veterans Day Parade. [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
Reenactors in World War I uniforms march in New York on Veterans Day 2015. [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War. [Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]
U.S. Navy members display a giant U.S. flag during the Veterans Day Parade in New York. [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
Prince Charles leaves a poppy at the Roll of Honour, part of the Australian War Memorial. [Photo by Mick Tsikas - Pool/Getty Images]
Prince Charles in Canberra, Australia on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2015. [Photo by Lukas Coch - Pool/Getty Images]
Parades and ceremonies remembering veterans were held across the United States today. The largest Veterans Day parade is said to take place in New York City, organized by the United War Veterans Council. Twenty-thousand people, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, were said to take part in the New York parade, according to ABC.
Indianapolis was host to a parade organized by the Veterans Day Council, the group who has been responsible for putting on Veterans Day parades in the city for more than 50 years, according to Fox 59. Eighty groups were said to take part in the parade with “thousands” of spectators lining Indianapolis streets to say “thank you” to veterans.
“Many times, being in the military, it was a thankless job, and here’s an opportunity for the local community to say thank you, to appreciate what we have done,” Matt Herndon, from the Indianapolis Veterans Day Council, was quoted.
Remembrance Day ceremonies were held across the United Kingdom, according to the BBC. British Prime Minister David Cameron was said to observe two minutes of silence en route to Malta to meet with other EU leaders. Trafalgar Square was said to fill with both veterans and citizen wishing to remember their service, according to the BBC. Musical performances by the London Community Gospel Choir, Seth Lakeman, and the Overtones were reported at the ceremonies.
“I knew people who never came home,” Raymond Champion, 79, who served in the Army Catering Corps was quoted. “People forget, they don’t know what they are letting go. They should respect the people that fought for their freedoms.”
Seventy-three-year-old Gloria Parker and her group the Ruislip Red Hatters were on hand in Trafalgar Square to show their support.
“It’s important to keep on remembering, we all had relatives who fought then, and now still,” Parker stated. “There’s a lot of work to be done still, I saw a lot of people that haven’t got a poppy — lest we forget.”
Remembrance Day ceremonies were held across Canada today as well. Thousands of Canadians were said to gather at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, as reported by CTV. Two minutes of silence were observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember the Canadian veterans.
Following a prayer by the chaplain general of the Canadian Forces, Guy Chapdelaine, newly sworn-in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, commemorated his first Remembrance Day as Canada’s leader by placing a wreath honoring the service of Canadian veterans at the war memorial, while a children’s choir sang “In Flanders Fields.”
[Feature Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]