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Birth of the Marine Corps & Veteran’s Day

10 November 1775 – During the Second Continental Congress a resolution would be passed that “two battalions of Marines be raised”. The Continental Marines would serve as a landing force for the recently created Continental Navy. The Continental Marines would be commanded by Captain Samuel Nicholas, who is recognized as the first Commandant of the Marine Corps. The Continental Marines would go on to serve with distinction during the Revolution, undertaking their first amphibious landing in March 1776 where they would occupy the British port of Nassau for two weeks. Following the end of the Revolution, both the Continental Navy and Marines would be disbanded due to the new United States being unable to afford them. It was not until 1789 that Congress would officially create the United States Marine Corps, in reaction to preparation of the Quasi-War with France. The USMC officially recognizes 10 November 1775 as the date they were created and celebrates their birth annually with Military Balls and other celebrations. The USMC has served with amazing distinction since their creation, taking part in immense battles and undertakings in the defense of all America holds dear. 

10 November 1865 – Henry Wirz, a Swiss American serving with the Confederacy during the Civil War is hanged for war crimes following the end of the war. Wirz served as the commander of the Andersonville Prison in Georgia. The prison was incredibly harsh, with prisoners being held in inhumane conditions for years. The prison was more of a enclosed pit, with no real accommodation for Union Soldiers held there. Prisoners lived in makeshift tents and were without anything near proper food, medicine or sanitary conditions. The prison was filled to 4 times capacity, with 45,000 Union Soldiers being held their over the war. Nearly 13,000 of those wold die in the prison, mostly from disease. For his actions as commander of the prison, Wirz was executed for conspiracy and murder. Interestingly, Wirz would be the only person executed for crimes at the end of the war. 

11 November – In 1918, on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month, World War 1 came to an end. 9 Million Soliders across Europe would be killed during the Great War, with 21 Million being wounded. 5 Million civilians would die of disease, starvation, or exposure during the 4 years of conflict. 

The following year President Woodrow Wilson would address the nation on the first anniversary of the war ending. His message would reflect on the great undertaking of Americans during the war as well as the immense actions European nations took to stave off German and Austrian aggression. His address marked the creation of Armistice Day in the USA. The new legal holiday was dedicated to the worldwide cause towards world peace and the recognition of those Americans that died and served in the Great War.

In 1945, WW2 veteran Raymond Weeks of Alabama would lead a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to expand the holiday to all American Veterans. Weeks would begin celebrating his expansion of the holiday in Alabama in 1947 and would continue to do so annually till his death. 

On 26 May 1954, President Eisenhower would sign in to law a bill establishing the holiday to be for all Veterans, with an amendment on 1 June replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans”. Since this day it has been known as Veterans Day.

This day marks a celebration of all Veterans of the US Military, those who have served and given so much to keep America the land of the free. 

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