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From the Archives: Veteran’s Day originated in a spontaneous celebration of war’s end on November 11, 1918

A spontaneous celebration broke out in San Diego on Nov. 11, 1918 as news spread that the armistice had been signed between the Allies and Germany, ending World War I.

Commemorated as Armistice Day the following year, November 11th became a U.S. federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day to honor American veterans of all wars.

From The San Diego Union, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1918:


City Uproariously Celebrates Big News


Thunderous Racket Starts at Daylight and Is Continued Far Into the Night, Thousands Shouting for Victory


Men in Uniform and Crowds Of Citizens, All Happy, Are Greeted by Biggest Noise Heard in San Diego

LOOSING the pend-up emotions of four years, San Diego yesterday celebrated the greatest day in modern history with a spontaneous outburst which transcended the most riotous demonstration within the recollection of the oldest inhabitant.

From that moment early morning when The Union galvanized the sleeping populace into joyful wakefulness with its authoritative announcement of the signing of the armistice by the German plenipotentiaries, until the small hours of today, the community gave itself utterly to transports of unbridled delight.

Long before the glint of the sun shown upon the smooth waters of the peaceful harbor, men, women, and children, hundreds of them in scant attire, rushed from their homes breathlessly to read the tidings that victory had rewarded the Allied arms.

And through the long, exquisite day and far into the night, with flags flung to the mild breeze, music sounding its martial note, bells tolling, horns and whistles shrieking, and ratchets and firecracks and buzzers adding a blatant crescendo to the mighty din, the blood of all the world coursed through the city’s heart as the holy and beautiful truth dawned that peace on earth had come to be.

Business was suspended. The banks were closed. A half-holiday was declared by the city council.

Came From all Sides

From the great stores, the smaller business establishments, office buildings and industrial plants humanity poured into the streets in innumerable black streams, lighted by smiling faces radiant with happiness long deferred. Thousands of homes gave forth their precious occupants, who gravitated to the business section as bits of steel drawn to a magnet, there to join immense throngs already embarked upon a fit and adequate celebration of the end of the world war.

Aged and stooped men and women walked with rekindled vigor, proud, erect, carrying tiny American flags. Dignified professional men, bankers, lawyers, ministers, doctors strode the sidewalks shoulder to shoulder with men who bore marks of hard toll.

Draft Men Join In

Three hundred youths released by the cancellation of the November draft inductions at the very moment of their departure for Kelly field, as quickly lost themselves in the human current, which was soon swelled to huge proportions by the additions of thousands of sailors and soldiers given liberty at the various army, army and marine bases in and around San Diego.

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