November 11, 2009
We are celebrating Veteran’s Day here in the U.S., a day to honor all of those who have served in the military. Whether you live here or in countries far from here, most all of us know someone who has been a part of serving their country at one time or another.
I was curious as to how this day came to be, so I did some research. Back in 1918, World War I ended with the implementation of an armistice (temporary cessation of hostilities until the final peace treaty could be signed in 1919) at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the first official “Armistice Day” to honor those who had died in service to their country. The idea was that all businesses would stop for two minutes at 11:00 am on 11/11 to honor these people.
In 1921, Congress passed legislation declaring 11/11/21 a legal Federal holiday to honor all who had participated in the war. In the 20′s and 30′s, most states established 11/11 as a legal holiday, and the President gave an annual proclamation to observe this at the Federal level.
In 1938, Congress passed legislation making 11/11 a permanent legal Federal holiday, Armistice Day. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation to change the name to “Veteran’s Day”. During the 60′s and 70′s, the observance varied between state to state, from the 4th Monday of October to November 11th. In 1978, the celebration was moved back to November 11th for everyone.
I’m sure that I learned about the history of this day as I went through school, but I didn’t remember how it came to be. I’m glad that we have a day to stop, remember, and honor.