In 1918, at the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, the guns of Europe fell silent and ended more than four years of brutal conflict.

The next year, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 “Armistice Day” to recognize the heroism of America’s World War I veterans. After World War II and the Korean War, Congress renamed the holiday “Veterans Day” to include all of our veterans.

Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that we have nearly 19.5 million veterans in the United States. These service members form an unbroken chain of patriots from World War II to the present day, and they continue to serve and lead in their communities.

More than 250,000 service members leave the total force every year. These individuals have given our country so much in support of operations around the globe. We must continue to take care of our veterans to show prospective service members that we will care for them after their time in uniform ends to ensure the future health of our military.

Here at Fort Leonard Wood, we support nearly 60,200 retirees on a daily basis. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have found ways to support our separating service members through the advertisement of local job postings and virtual job fairs. Also, nearly 50 percent of our Department of the Army civilians are veterans.

We appreciate the critical roles veterans fill in our community and our Team of Teams. On behalf of a grateful nation, we thank you for all you do. We are proud to serve with you!

Victory starts here . . . Victory through skill!