The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month began the Armistice for the first World War—the Great War—the War to End All Wars. November 11 began to be celebrated as Armistice Day.
An armistice is a cessation of fighting, more commonly referred to as a truce. Traditionally this is followed by a treaty, usually defining the terms of surrender for one side, with the intent being to return to a peaceful co-existence. This is not always the case, however. The Korean Armistice in 1953 never led to a treaty and South Korea never signed the armistice. A state of war still technically exists between North and South Korea.
The First World War led to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which required Germany to accept the blame for the war, to disarm and to pay restitutions for damages. These conditions were so onerous to the Germans that many historians believe they directly led to Adolph Hitler’s rise and ultimately to his total control of the country. Like many despots, he needed a fall guy, so the Nazis placed the blame for Germany’s situation to the Jews.
The last declared war that included the United States was World Two. For a conflict to legally be a war, there must be a declaration of war by the Congress. Therefore, the Korean War was not a war, nor was Vietnam, Libya, Kuwait, Iraq, Belarus, Afghanistan, etc. They were called police actions, operations, etc.
However, to the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman, these were all wars. Maybe to Congress they were something else, but to those in the Area of Operations, the conditions were warlike. Death in these places was just as real as death in a declared war.
Memorial Day is when we honor those who died while in uniform. We now call November 11 Veterans Day to honor every American who served. If you had the honor of serving, as a veteran myself, I salute you. All who have served are, and forever will remain, bonded together.