An armistice ending the hostilities between Germany and the Allied Nations became effective on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Armistice Day, which was commemorated for the first time on November 11, 1919, became a legal holiday in 1938. Veteran service organizations urged Congress in 1954 to change the word "Armistice" to "Veterans," transforming it from a day honoring World War I heroes to one honoring all American veterans — particularly living veterans. A grateful nation annually honors and recognizes more than 23.4 million living veterans on November 11, paying respects to all who have answered the call to military service. Veterans Day provides an opportunity for all Americans to thank those who have served our nation in the armed forces.