PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11, 1919, as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I.

Since then, it has been re-named Veterans Day.

This holiday is set aside to remember the men and women who served our country.

Today, the annual veterans’ breakfast recognizes members from all branches of the service and what they provided our country.

“It’s a place where they can reconnect with their colleagues, reconnect with the community of veterans in Pittsburgh, which is a very strong community,” Al Mercer, of the Veterans Leadership Program, said.

It’s more than vets. It’s also people who spend their lives serving our service men and women.

“I knew I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life working with the poor, the disenfranchised and being an Air Force veteran myself, I wanted to help veterans who were homeless,” Rev. Mike Wurschmidt, of Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship, said.

And oh, the stories you hear sitting around the tables.

“The first night I was in boot camp, we were all sleeping in this large place and all at once I heard a noise and I recognized that there were guys who were crying because they had never been away from home. I had been. I had been to a lot of camps and everything so, but I will always remember that,” World War II Veteran Bill McAuley said.

McAuley, 91, dropped out of college to join the Army. He earned a Purple Heart during World War II in the South Pacific, but he said don’t call him a hero.

“Well I can relate to them, but the main thing is the heroes aren’t here. All the ones who were killed,” McAuley said.

This year’s speaker began her military career with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1975.

She understands veterans do more than simply serve overseas.

“They also serve here at home protecting our homeland, whether it is from California to New York, floods, hurricanes, fires, or patrolling our borders, veterans protect the homeland,” Under Secretary of Defense For Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright said.

“This is a wonderful thing. We have 680 people here. Give credit to Duquesne University for this. This is my third time here,” McAuley said.

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