Each year on November 11, Arlington National Cemetery welcomes visitors from near and far remembering veteran’s past and present.  Veterans are honored with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns that begins at 11 a.m. the ceremony resumes in the Memorial Amphitheater with an impressive display of colors by various veterans organizations and tributes given by VIPs. 

The Veterans Day National Committee is comprised of 25 members and 21 associate members and are responsible for the event in Arlington National Cemetery and the reception that follows.  The Committee was formed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to oversee national planning and coordination of the Veterans Day observance.  Leadership of various veterans’ groups were invited to serve on the committee. 

Three times a year the committee meets in Washington D.C. to plan Veterans Day activities, to select a national poster, host the national ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and a luncheon afterwards.

Each year a Committee member has the honor of hosting the luncheon, which occurs once every quarter century. The American GI Forum of the US (AGIF US) was honored to serve as the host organization for the 2018 Veterans Day National Commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery. The AGIF US members also celebrated its 70th anniversary of the founding of the American GI Forum.

In partnership with the American Red Cross, the AGIF hosted a Texas style BBQ, complete with margaritas and mariachis.   Veterans, their families and friends visiting from around the nation packed the beautiful Dr. Drew Donation Center located on the historical Red Cross National Headquarters compound situated just across from the White House in Washington DC.

The AGIF is a Congressionally Charted Veterans Family Organization that focuses on veterans’ issues, education and civil rights.  Our motto is “Education is Our Freedom and Freedom Should be Everybody’s Business.”  Our logo colors red, white, and blue represents our patriotism, the 13 stars represent the original 13 colonies, with the 13th-star sitting center and on top representing the star of David. 

The American GI Forum offers admission to qualified persons into the GI Forum, Women’s, Youth and Honorary chapters. Membership in the GI Forum chapters is open to men and women who qualify as veterans, who are American citizens or legal residents, and who have served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States. 

The American GI Forum operates chapters across the nation and Puerto Rico. 

Article written by Monica Valdiviez-Wiley