Aside from August 10th, his birthday, Herbert Hoover gave more significant speeches on November 11th than on any other day in the calendar. Acting on behalf of President Coolidge, Hoover gave his first Armistice Day address in 1924 to the American Legion, two years before Congress officially named November 11th Armistice Day. Hoover spoke each Armistice Day while serving as President. In 1929 he spoke on preparedness for peace. In 1930 he spoke at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Spokane. He dedicated the War Memorial in DC in 1931. In 1932, Hoover addressed the crowd at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
After leaving the White House, Hoover continued to speak on Armistice Day. In 1934 he spoke at an event in San Jose. Shortly after Armistice Day became an official national holiday in 1938, he dedicated the Camp Fremont Memorial in California. He spoke via radio to Wilmington College students in 1948, expounding on America’s need for the uncommon man. On November 11th 1952, Hoover extolled the virtues of the Voice of America in preserving liberty of free men.
In 1954 President Eisenhower signed into law the act that officially changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans’ Day to honor all who served. On November 11, 1955, speaking once again at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the behest of Eisenhower, Hoover gave stirring remarks regarding veterans, patriotism and America. Hoover said, ‘Any words we may say here are dimmed by that transcendent flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Yet we meet here each year to express pride in the valor of America’s sons and daughters, pride in the ideals for which they fought.’
Hoover goes on to say, ‘We do not glorify war. No man can come back from the furnace of war who does not pray that war be ended forever.’ Hoover’s conclusion echoes poetically: ‘Here lay the bones of a man not unknown to us because his only name is American. The American who lies here is of our flesh and blood. His mortal remains were placed here without knowledge of his ancestry, his creed or his color. We know that he loved his country and feared no man. His immortal spirit carries on. What can be said of any man than that he laid down his life for his country? We salute you Mr. American!’