Today is Veterans Day. We encourage all Americans to set aside time and reflect on the sacrifice of our veterans and those serving today, and honor them accordingly.
On Nov. 11, 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the timing of cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). President Warren Harding requested that: "All ... citizens ... indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these ... valorous lives and of supplication for His Divine mercy ... on our beloved country." Inscribed on the Tomb are the words: "Here lies in honored glory an American soldier know but to God." The day became known as "Armistice Day." In 1954, Congress, wanting to recognize the sacrifice of veterans since WWI, proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in their honor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander in WWII, signed the legislation.
To honor those veterans who sacrificed all, an Army honor guard from the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) keeps day and night vigil at Arlington. At 11 a.m. this morning, a combined color guard representing all military service branches executed "Present Arms" at the tomb for the laying of a wreath by the president, followed by "Taps."
More than a million Patriots stand ready, or are actively defending our nation today. These men and women were not drafted into service, but volunteered to serve. To all our veterans: Thank you for your dedicated service to the cause of liberty.
To the wounded soldiers and civilians, and the families of those killed or wounded at Fort Hood: Our prayers are with you.