On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year of 1918, the world celebrated the end of World War I, and in recognition November 11th became known as Armistice Day.
Had World War I really been “the war to end all wars,” perhaps we would still be celebrating Armistice Day today. However, in 1939, World War II consumed the European continent and later the South Pacific, and today, November 11th marks a day to honor America’s veterans. In 1953, Congress proclaimed November 11th as Veterans’ Day and called upon Americans everywhere to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace. Thus, this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Veterans’ Day Celebration and it is particularly significant as we honor the 25 million living American veterans, especially those who have recently returned from battles overseas. We also remember those troops, and their families who at this time remain in service.
I look forward to sharing this Veterans’ Day with veterans and the families of servicemen and women in the 5th Congressional District. Their bravery and sacrifice for our nation deserves our recognition, our respect and our deep gratitude.
On Memorial Day, we reflect on what those who have died on our behalf have sacrificed and we give tribute to their selfless spirit. We hail our Independence on the 4th of July. On Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks for all we have. November 11th, however, is set aside to honor those who defended our Constitution, our country and our way of life - although we should certainly not confine our recognition to this one day.
As our country wages war on the scourge of terrorism, and as hundreds of thousands of our armed forces remain overseas in Iraq, it is more important than ever to remember past sacrifices made by the men and women of America’s military. I urge the people of Maryland and citizens around the country to recognize and honor those who have selflessly dedicated their lives to serving our nation.
We commemorate our veterans on this day, and to truly commemorate their service and sacrifice, this must also be a day of commitment. The men and women of our military put their country's interests above self-interest, and on November 11th, as Lincoln said, we long remember them and the lessons they left us and we recommit ourselves to preserving their memory. I join grateful Americans to salute you, our nation’s veterans.