Today is the day set aside in the United States to pay tribute to the men and women who have done so much to preserve our way of life.

It is Veterans Day, and we join the rest of the country in paying our respects to those who have served, and those currently serving, in our armed forces.

Without their sacrifices, we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms we have.

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, originally was set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on Nov. 11, 1918.

In legislation passed in 1938, Nov. 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.”

With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, when President Woodrow Wilson, in November 1919, proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, he did it with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us, and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations …”

Wilson’s words hold true today.

Sometimes, we take things for granted. We don’t stop to think about how lucky we are, how good we have it and how many people across the world wish they could enjoy half the blessings we have.

We have those things because of our veterans.

Take the time today to say “thank you” to a veteran.

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