1919, the nation celebrated Armistice Day, marking the first anniversary of the end of the First World War. In 1945, Armistice Day commemorations took on new meaning as the Second World War ended. Sixteen million active duty service members transitioned back into civilian life.
Parades and celebrations honoring new and old Veterans alike occurred throughout the country that day. President Truman, a World War One Veteran, recognized the sacrifices so many had made by dedicating the day to peace in his Armistice Day proclamation.
Photo above: Armistice Day parades took on new meaning 75 years ago, in 1945, as the nation’s Veteran population increased by 16 million that year. Peace and rapid demobilization brought new meaning and challenges for what was then known as the Veterans Administration.
The end of the Second World War increased the nation’s Veteran population more than any other time in our nation’s history that year. The care of those returning Veterans fell upon newly appointed VA Administrator General Omar Bradley.
Chosen by his fellow Missourian President Truman to transform the Administration, Bradley was only three months into the job in November 1945. He understood the gravity of the situation and sought to rapidly modernize VA to meet the growing demand.