Veterans Day

Veterans Day Observance 2018

by Michael Van Poots
RPI, ‘95

Brother Van Poots on the flying bridge of the Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine USS Montpelier SSN-765

Brother Van Poots on the flying bridge of the Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine USS Montpelier SSN-765

Folks—a moment of your time to reflect upon the upcoming Veterans day observance.

First a bit of history, World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.

Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Arlington Cemetery, (Fort Myer, VA) Washington D.C..

It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans.

Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date. Tomb of the Unknowns—Official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns.

To honor these unknown Veterans, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of "Taps."

There are approximately 18.8 million military veterans living in the United States. Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

4 Million served in peacetime.


  • The American Revolution

  • War of 1812

  • Mexican War

  • Civil War

  • Spanish American War

  • World War I

  • World War II – 930,000 military veterans living

  • Korean War – 1.8 Million military veterans living

  • Vietnam War – 6.8 Million military veterans living

  • The Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq – 5.6 Million military veterans living.

Please take a moment to reflect upon all Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and others whose service ensured our Nation's safety.

Brother Van Poots and his wife, Holly, at the Navy Ball.

Thanks for taking a few moments out of your day to reflect upon those who are serving or have served in defense of our country.

My service as a veteran in the US Navy and my membership in Phi Kappa Theta started in college 27 years ago & continues to this day. Phi Kappa Theta fosters human development through community service and social interaction.

We are socially engaged, recognizing our responsibility to affect positive change in ourselves and others.

Phi Kappa Theta’s values are demonstrated through the actions of our members, who better their communities as citizens in a global society.

Main image: Reed & Ryan Van Poots, sons of Brother Van Poots, saying goodby to him next to his sea bag on Mobilization day.