For many of us, 11:11 has been presented as a sign of insight, spiritual growth and enlightenment. Today, 11:11 brings a much deeper appreciation for these 4 single numbers. Today, we honor those brave men and women who so selflessly put their lives on the line so that we may continue to live in FREEDOM!

On the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I came to an end. The day that Germany signed an agreement for peace and caused all fighting to stop. Pause for just a moment and let that sink in — the end of WWI which began in 1914. A war that pitted Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire against Great Britain, the United States, France, Russia, Italy and Japan. A war that took the lives of over 16 million people — 9 million of them soldiers.

Veteran’s Day was initially known as “Armistice Day” and began in 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of the war. In 1926, Congress set a resolution and November 11th became a day of annual observance, becoming a national holiday in 1938. It wasn’t until 1954 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day.

In 1968 a Uniform Holiday Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the annual holiday to the fourth Monday of October. In 1971, this law went into effect, but thanks to President Gerald Ford in 1975, Veteran’s Day returned to November 11th because of the sheer significance of this date. On this day we pay tribute to all American veterans—those living and those who have passed on—who serve or served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

So today I ask you to find some pause… think about how different your life might be if it weren’t for these men and women to often pay the ultimate sacrifice. Who willingly leave their family and friends to protect us and ours. They walk in unknown lands, trained for combat and often faced with the reality of death and loss. They’ve held the hands of others—civilians and soldiers—that have been unfairly wounded and often die. They give up the comforts that we often take for granted—food, shelter, electricity. They are true heroes in every sense of the word and they deserve more than a day of honor and tribute. So please, thank your Veterans. Let them know that what they do makes a significant impact on your life.