“The war to end all wars” or World War I came to a halt when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The first official Presidential proclamation to commemorate “Armistice Day” was issued a year later on November 11, 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson. The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. A federal law created in 1938 made the 11th of November a legal holiday, a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” The intention was to honor all who served in World War I. By 1954, Congress had changed the law and the name of the day to “Veterans Day” as a way to honor veterans of all wars. A 1978 federal law ensured that “Veterans Day” would always be on November 11th. Years prior, the holiday moved around in accordance with another federal law that designated Veterans day would be celebrated on a Monday to create three day week-ends, which would encourage travel and recreational activities.
Western New York has sent many of its sons and daughters into combat. The Local History File in the Grosvenor Room has numerous entries for newspaper articles about veterans, the American Legion, and military related clubs. There is a whole section devoted to the Viet Nam war. Librarians created Military History and Records: Genealogical Sources for Buffalo and Erie County, which introduces researchers to sources about local participation in various wars and records of ancestral military service. There are several other guides that address the Civil War, War of 1812, and military resources for areas other than Buffalo and Erie County. Click here for access to the guides. We also have scrapbooks and books about local connections to our proud military service tradition.
Use Veterans Day as an opportunity to thank someone who served their country.