Friends and neighbors,
On November 11, 1918, a German delegation and leaders of the Allied Powers gathered in France to officially bring an end to World War I. The resulting armistice took effect at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918; it represented a total and humiliating defeat for Germany, but they were in no position to negotiate.
Since then, November 11 has been observed in some capacity as a tribute to veterans. Originally it was simply called Armistice Day, and was aimed at honoring the millions of Americans who served in World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower and Congress recognized the need to pay respect to all veterans, and officially changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.
For those of us who have served, Veterans Day has profound meaning. Memories of friends, victories, and tragedies are all especially clear today. Although words may not seem enough to honor the sacrifice, I hope each one of you will take a moment to thank someone who has served. We often take our freedom for granted, but today we are reminded to express our gratitude to those who have protected our great nation and the privileges we enjoy.
To every veteran or active duty military member, thank you for your service! I hope you feel especially appreciated today for the impact you have had on each of us.