Every year on November 11, our nation recognizes the heroes among us – our military veterans – with parades, special ceremonies, and other events. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices these men and women have made to ensure our freedom.
But do you know how Veterans Day came about? Here’s a brief history as outlined by the U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!.
Although World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, in the palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France, a temporary truce, or armistice, between Germany and the Allied nations went into effect seven months earlier on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
That following November, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The original intent was to set aside a day to hold parades and public meetings and to suspend all business activity starting at 11 a.m.
Wilson is quoted as saying: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
In June of 1926, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation “calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”
That was followed by an Act, approved May 13, 1938, that made the 11th of November of each year a legal U.S. holiday known as Armistice Day, to generally honor World War I veterans. But in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, Congress amended the Act by replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans” to reflect recognition of American veterans of all wars.
Veterans Day took a strange twist when, in 1968, the Uniform Holiday Bill was signed into law. The legislation was designed to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays – Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Legislators reasoned that these extended weekends would encourage recreational and cultural activities and travel, in addition to stimulating commercial and industrial production.
Many states, however, chose to continue celebrating the four holidays on their original dates, thereby creating confusion and consternation. By 1975, President Gerald Ford cleared the air by passing a law that restored the annual observance of Veterans Day to November 11, beginning in 1978.
We hope this historical perspective will give you a better appreciation of Veterans Day and those it’s intended to honor.