History of Veterans Day
Veterans day is a federal holiday honoring military veterans annually on November 11th. It is celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world. The date of November 11th was chosen as it is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice the ended World Ward I. (11th hour 11th day of the 11th month)
The U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
It was not until 1953 when in Emporia, Kansas a shoe store owner named Alfred King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War II. The idea arose from the fact his father and many other men of the period were veterans due to World Ward II. It was formally recognized as Veterans day by President Dwight Eisenhower on May 26th, 1954.
The holiday was moved, along with three other holidays, to fall on a Monday to allow for three day weekends starting in 1971. This lasted for a period of time before it was moved back to its original date.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.