How Veterans Day Got Started
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice was signed, the formal agreement that marked the official end of World War I. The day became known as “Armistice Day”. Then in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War had ended, Congress changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor veterans of every war. Today, Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11th to honor veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
“At the eleventh hour” was an interesting choice. The meaning has shifted a bit over the years, but today doing something at the eleventh hour means you got in just under the wire. The phrase is commonly known to mean, at the last moment or almost too late, the last possible moment that you can do something, especially prevent something bad from happening.
The expression comes from the Bible, where Jesus uses it in the story of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). In Jesus’s time, the hours were counted from dawn until dusk, with the twelfth hour bringing darkness, and so the eleventh hour was the last hour before dark. In the parable, a few last-minute workers hired long after the others, are paid the same wage. Those laborers, still idle at nearly the end of the day, had nothing to take home, no pay, no hope, no resources to support their loved ones. And then at the eleventh hour, because they persevered and stood ready, they were called, pulled from their idleness to work and despite being brought on the job very late in the day, by grace, they weren’t too late.
One might wonder about those among them who gave up just before the final call and ended the day with nothing to provide for their families. In contrast, those who have nobly defended our nation, our veterans stood strong and tall through the eleventh hour, the last hour of light, and into the darkness. They persevered and stood ready due to a calling to serve and protect our rights due to their love of God, country, and family. They have honored us with their courage and willingness to sacrifice for the principles that guide our way of life.
Why We Should Honor Veterans Day
On this Veterans Day, November 11th at the eleventh hour, you and I have a call to honor Americans who have served, who have chosen to do something, to prevent bad things from happening and to rise up in strength to defend our freedoms and way of life. Our veterans deserve our voice of gratitude, honor, and celebration of their willingness to stand strong. They also deserve our willingness to raise our voices to support all that is good and right with the American heritage. Do not give up, listen for the moment when you are called to give honor and support for founding principles and for those who have served to sustain all of us, our families, and our nation.
This November 11th, stand firm and speak up for our veterans, those who stood tall through the eleventh hour.