Largely intended to thank veterans for their sacrifices, Veterans Day commemorates those who have served the country in war and peace, dead or alive. First celebrated on November 11, 1919 to pay homage to World War I veterans, the holiday was originally called Armistice Day.

At 11:00 A.M. on this day in 1918, the Allied Nations and Germany reached a truce to stop fighting, or Armistice, leading to the official end of World War I with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.

Designated as an official holiday in 1938, Congress amended the commemoration on June 1, 1954 by changing the “armistice” to “veterans” to honor all American veterans following World War II and the Korean War.

In honor of all who serve and the sacrifices they give, here are a few historic photographs of Armistice Day parades in Downtown Jacksonville during the 1940s.

Happy Veterans Day!

Photographs courtesy of State Archives of Florida.