Veterans Day: A Time for Reflection and Patriotism
For many, November 11 is just a day when the mail doesn't run and the banks are closed. But for those proud soldiers who have served their country through service in the Army, the day holds much more significance.
That's because November 11 is officially recognized as Veterans Day. The day has been set aside to "honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good."
But how did Veterans Day come about? Here's a brief look at how the Veterans Day observance came to be.
Armistice Day: Nov. 11, 1918
World War I officially ended when an armistice was signed between the Allied nations and Germany. Ceasing of hostilities went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. To commemorate the end of "the war to end all wars," President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11, 1919 as Armistice Day. The day was intended to be a time when the nation would remember the brave men and women who fought and died in the war.
Parades, public gatherings and suspensions of business activities were carried out across the U.S. during the first years Armistice Day was recognized. Then, in 1938, Congress officially recognized Armistice Day as a legal holiday "dedicated to the cause of world peace."
Change to Veterans' Day: 1954
Following World War II and the Korean conflict, Congress officially changed the holiday's name to Veterans Day to honor service members from all wars. At that time, the Veterans Affairs Administration was also tapped to serve as chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee, a position now filled by the cabinet-level Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
In the early 1970s, Congress changed the Veterans Day observance from Nov. 11 to the first Monday in November. The change was intended to give Americans a three-day weekend, which would prompt travel, recreation and shopping and spur the economy. However, the change was met with so much resistance from Americans that the Veterans Day recognition was returned to the original date of Nov. 11 in 1978.
Soldiers and their Families know better than anyone the sacrifice required by service in the U.S. Army. That's why we provide resources through the Army MWR. For example, Soldiers transitioning to civilian employment can find employment opportunities available through MWR and IMCOM.
Return to the Features Page