An armistice ending the hostilities between Germany and the Allied Nations became effective on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Armistice Day, which was commemorated for the first time on November 11, 1919, became a legal holiday in 1938. Veteran service organizations urged Congress in 1954 to change the word “Armistice” to “Veterans.” A grateful nation annually honors veterans on November 11, paying respects to all who have answered the call to military service. 

Although our thoughts this year are with those in distant war zones, we also honor the veterans living among us, including those who recently returned from service and are reintegrating into civilian life. Recognizing Veterans Day can be as simple as placing the American flag on your porch or reminding youngsters of a relative who served in the military.

If you know a veteran who’s not taking advantage of their Veterans Administration health care benefits or who is struggling to find a job, reassure them that help is available.  An astonishing number of veterans do not know about the VA health care services available to them.  

The VA Maryland Health Care System’s Enrollment Center can be reached at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324 or at

On this Veterans Day, we are honored to join with millions of Americans in saying to our veterans, “Welcome home!  Thank you for your service!  What can we do to help you?”


Dennis H. Smith

Director, VA Maryland Health Care System