On Saturday, November 11, United States citizens will celebrate Veterans Day with messages and acts of gratitude toward the men and women who have bravely and selflessly served our country. In conjunction with celebrating this important day, here are facts about its history and significance.
What does Veterans Day celebrate, and what is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
Veterans Day is a U.S. holiday that honors veterans of all wars, alive and passed. Memorial Day, celebrated in May, is dedicated to Americans who have served and who passed away while—or as a result of–serving.
What are the origins of Veterans Day?
In 1918, during World War I, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, hostilities ceased between the Allied nations and Germany. The cessation was marked by many countries as Armistice Day. The Treaty of Versailles, which marked the end of the war, was signed on June 28, 1919, but the armistice date was the one that most people considered the end of the conflict.
In November of 1919, Armistice Day was marked by many countries. The observance included parades, public celebrations, and pauses to both business and school activities at 11 am.
In June of 1926, Congress passed a resolution that November 11 should be commemorated each year. As of May 13, 1938, Armistice Day became a legal Federal holiday.
Changes were still abound, however. During World War II, more than 16 million Americans served in the Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy. Another 5.7 million served in the Korean war. This spurred Veterans service organizations to lobby for the words Veterans Day to replace the words Armistice Day in honor of the American veterans of all wars. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation for the name to be changed.
Veterans Day wasn’t always observed on November 11th
The day would still see some changes. As of 1971, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October. This followed Congress passing the Uniform Holidays Bill that brought about the celebration of four national holidays on Mondays. As of 1978, due to many states’ confusion and disapproval over the change, the holiday was moved back to its original observance date. It continues to be held on that date.
To all those who have served, we humbly thank you for your service, and Happy Veterans Day to you!