Why share Veterans Day facts?
While younger generations still experience Nov. 11 as a national day of remembrance in the United States and abroad. Few, however, understand the meaning behind the “Eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”
To honor those who gave the greatest sacrifice, Bullet Blues gathered 15 Veterans Day facts. We hope you learn something you didn’t know. Also, at the bottom, you will find five tips for commemorating Veterans Day. For more information, check out this article about Veterans Day at History.com.
Veterans Day facts
- Germany signed the armistice agreement ending World War I at 5 a.m. Nov. 11. With the impending threat of an allied invasion, Germany signed the agreement in a railroad car near Compiègne, France.
- On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Allies signed a treaty with Germany ending World War I.
- It’s estimated nine million soldiers died during the war known as, “The war to end all wars.” In addition, 21 million soldiers were injured, and approximately five million civilians died of disease and famine.
- Many countries in Europe, Great Britain and the Commonwealth continue to honor the end of the World War I with two minutes of silence every Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.
- Until 1954, Veterans Day was known in the United States as “Armistice Day.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day.
- The Treaty of Versailles officially ended World War I and punished Germany’s economics and military harshly. The consequences led to World War II.
- Poppies were able to survive the harsh landscape of World War I battlefield. Even today, wearing a red, paper poppy flower on your lapel honors those who died.
- The war started in Sarajevo when a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, shot and killed Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. Ferdinand was heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire.
- A series of long, narrow trenches stretched from the coast of Belgium to Switzerland, called the “Western Front.”
- The trench closest to the enemy was named the “Front line.”
Kid-friendly Veterans Day facts
- Dogs carried messages on the battlefields. British families even donated pets to help on the front. Dogs were agile enough to dodge gunfire, and they would help keep the rat population low in the trenches.
- The Battle of Somme was the largest battle of World War I. French and British troops fought the Germans along the Somme River. More than one-million people died during the five-month battle.
- After gas attacks, gas masks were cleaned. Once rinsed, the mask was filled with water. If a goldfish was able to survive in the water, the mask was deemed safe for reuse.
- Nov. 11 is the birthday for Gen. George Smith Patton, Jr., who was major player in World War II.
- In England, children belonging to Boy Scouts and Girl Guides helped create bandages and even delivered secret messages.
What can you do to honor Veterans Day?
- Take a moment of silence 11 a.m., Nov. 11.
- Make a donation of time or money to your local Veterans Health Administration Medical Center.
- Sit down with your children/grandchildren and discuss the above Veterans Day facts. Take a look at the United Kingdom’s National Geographic Kids’ page devoted to World War I facts.
- Wear a red paper poppy Nov. 11.
- Say, “Thank you,” to any service man or woman.
And, as always, support American families by buying American-made clothing like Bullet Blues’ designer jeans and apparel. Read more about honoring our veterans with this previous Bullet Blues’ blog post about World War II veterans and the Battle of Normandy.