The History of Veterans Day
Did you know that most Americans confuse Veterans Day with
Memorial Day? Both holidays celebrate our veterans' service, but with one significant difference. Learn the history of
What Do You Know About Veterans Day?
Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, most
Americans confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, reports the Department of Veterans Affairs. What's more, some Americans
don't know why we commemorate our Veterans on Nov.11. It's imperative that all Americans know the history of Veterans Day
so that we can honor our former servicemembers properly.
A Brief History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War
I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislature that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to
the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored
World War I veterans.
In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the
veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans."
With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill insured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays
on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to
the last Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original
date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.
Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day
to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.
Celebrating the Veterans Day Holiday
If the Nov. 11 holiday falls on a non-workday — Saturday or Sunday — the holiday is observed by the federal
government on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday). Federal government closings
are established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — a complete schedule can be found here. State and local
government closings are determined locally, and non-government businesses can close or remain open as they see fit, regardless
of federal, state or local government operation determinations.
United States Senate Resolution 143, which was passed on Aug. 4, 2001, designated the week of Nov.11 through Nov. 17, 2001,
as "National Veterans Awareness Week." The resolution calls for educational efforts directed at elementary and secondary school
students concerning the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.
The difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day
Memorial Day honors servicemembers who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle.
Deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served
honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.