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Veterans Day first began as Armistice Day, declared by President Woodrow Wilson on November 11, 1919, to commemorate the end of World War I the year prior. Wilson said of the event, “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…”

On June 4, 1926, Congress established November 11 as an official day of remembrance, writing

“Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

 

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

 

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”

By 1954, Armistice Day had become Veterans Day, a day to honor and pay our respects to veterans of all wars, not just World War I. The gallery below highlights some photographs and newspaper articles about Napa men who fought in WWI from the Napa County Historical Society archives.

To do more research on Napa vets of all wars, send us an email. Learn more about the history of Veterans Day here.