History of Veteran’s Day

While Memorial Day honors those who have died in service to the United States of America, Veteran’s Day honors all American veterans who fought in wartime. It is a national holiday held every year on November 11th when we as a nation, say, “Thank you for your service.” Here is a little history about Veteran’s Day.

On November 11th, 1918, an armistice was declared, and World War One, declared the war to end all wars, ended. Armistice Day was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson and celebrated the following year on November 11th. The first Armistice Day was celebrated with parades and a brief pause of activities at 11:00 am, the time the aggression ceased.

In 1921, on Armistice Day, an unidentified soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Unknown soldiers were also buried in London and Paris. Congress declared the day a national holiday. On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution to commemorate November 11th with “thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and understanding between nations”. In 1938, it became a legal federal holiday known as Armistice Day.

Because of all the veterans that fought in World War Two and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954. Veterans Day became a day to honor all American veterans who fought for our country.

In 1975, Gerald Ford signed legislation to keep the observance of Veterans Day on November 11th unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday. Then it is celebrated on the previous Friday or following Monday. An official wreath-laying ceremony is held every Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery while parades and other celebrations are held in states around the country.

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