On November 11, 1954, America first observed Veterans Day, previously known as Armistice Day. Initially a day set aside to honor the veterans of World War I, it was expanded in 1954 to pay tribute to all veterans.
On August 29, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Naval Appropriations Act of 1916, establishing the Marine Corps Reserve.
On August 7, 1782, George Washington ordered the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to be awarded for bravery in battle. The predecessor of the Purple Heart, it’s one of the oldest military awards worldwide that is open to all who are wounded in battle.
On April 21, 1898, Spain ended diplomatic relations with America and the US Navy established a blockade of Cuba, marking the official start of the Spanish-American War. The war would last less than four months, but saw the downfall of the Spanish Empire and the rise of America as a major world power with several new possessions.
On April 6, 1866, in Springfield, Illinois, Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson founded the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) to bring together Civil War veterans. The GAR provided veterans with support and camaraderie and was influential in the creation of Memorial Day and more…
On February 19, 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima began. It was one of the bloodiest of the whole war, with over 44,000 combined casualties.
The Battle of Kwajalein began on January 31, 1944. Part of the World War II Pacific Campaign, it was a hard-fought, but quick victory for the US, allowing commanders to launch the next battles sooner than expected.
On January 13, 1865, Union forces launched the Second Battle of Fort Fisher. The fort, dubbed the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy,” was the largest in the South and key to Confederate international trade.
On November 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding dedicated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Now the final resting place for three unknown soldiers, it is guarded 24 hours a day by members of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment.