Veterans Day, celebrated each year on November 11, pays homage to each veteran from all wars across the United States, living and dead, remembering their service and sacrifice made for this country. It honors our nation’s veterans for their patriotism, service, and their heroic sacrifice to protect all Americans.
Though World War I ended officially on June 28, 1919 after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, fighting ceased months earlier, and an armistice was formed between both the Allies and the Central Powers on November 11, 1918, a date that is regarded as the real end of the war.
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 as “Armistice Day” to commemorate the veterans that fought to protect and defend the United States. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for annual observance of Armistice Day and officially declared it a national holiday on May 13, 1938.
In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower renamed “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day” following World War II and the Korean War as a means to celebrate and honor veterans across all wars. In 1968, Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill, relocating all federal holidays to Mondays as a means to stimulate long weekend travel and help the economy. President Gerald Ford later returned Veterans Day back to November 11 in 1975 due to the significance of the date.
Like the United States, nations around the globe honor their veterans on or near November 11. Both Canada and Australia celebrate “Remembrance Day,” and Great Britain celebrates “Remembrance Sunday,” to honor their veterans.
Every Veterans Day, Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia holds a memorial service to honor the lives of the more than 400,000 veterans and service members buried there. For the first time in 96 years, members of the public will be allowed to walk onto the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier plaza to lay flowers on the sacred memorial site this year.
Veterans Day serves as a reminder to Americans of the honor, courage, and sacrifice that veterans made for our common good. This Veterans Day, remember to thank a veteran for their service, and remember the sacrifices that were made to protect our freedoms in this great nation.
“5 Facts to Know about Veterans Day.” U.S. Department of Defense. Accessed November 10, 2021. https://www.defense.gov/News/Feature-Stories/story/Article/1675470/5-facts-to-know-about-veterans-day/.
History.com Editors. “Veterans Day Facts.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, October 14, 2009. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/veterans-day-facts.
Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. “Veterans Affairs.” Go to VA.gov, March 20, 2006. https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp.