On this Veterans Day 2020, the West & Dunn team expresses our sincerest gratitude to all who have ever served in the United States Armed Forces. These brave men and women put others before self represent the best of our country’s citizens. West & Dunn is dedicated to ensuring they receive the benefits they have rightfully earned and we stand ready to assist for any legal need that may arise.
Did you know that shortly after the end of World War I, our allies England and France buried unknown soldiers in each nation’s highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triumph). These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as “Armistice Day.”
In 1921, an unknown World War I soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery and became a focal point of reverence for America’s veterans. That the site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and our nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., was where ceremonies began being held every year to honor those who served in the Great War. Armistice Day officially received its name in 1926 through a Congressional resolution and became a national holiday 12 years later (1938) and was celebrated as the end of “the War to end all wars.”
Unfortunately, only a few years later, World War II broke out. In 1947, Raymond Weeks, a WWII veteran, organized “National Veterans Day,” which included a parade and other festivities, to honor all veterans. He chose Armistice Day for these celebrations. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation into law renaming Armistice Day as “Veterans Day.” On Memorial Day 1958, two more unidentified American War dead were brought from overseas and interred in the plaza beside the unknown soldier of World war I. One was killed in World War II, the other in the Korean War. This sacred site became known as the “Tomb of the Unknowns” and for decades has been protected around the clock by the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s Old Guard. In 1984, an unknown serviceman from the Vietnam War was placed alongside the others; however, in 1998, those remains were identified and properly removed for burial.
Over the years, the focal point for official, national ceremonies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day continues to be the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns. At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services, executes Present Arms at the tomb. The nation’s tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and a bugler plays “Taps.”
Veterans Day is an opportunity to recognize, honor, and thank those men and women who have served, but are still with us. West & Dunn re-emphasizes its eternal gratitude to all of them and reiterates its commitment to assisting them in every possible way we can.