Five Facts About Veterans Day

This year on November 11, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the origination of Veterans Day. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country whether living or dead, although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

  1. Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” – named by President Woodrow Wilson on Nov. 11, 1919, which is the first anniversary of the ceasefire of World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from  Armistice Day to Veterans Day. An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, since it may constitute only a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace. It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning “arms” and -stitium, meaning “a stopping”.
  2. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance, and it became a national holiday beginning in 1938. At this point, it was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but on September 20, 1975 President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.
  3. Veterans Day occurs on November 11 because it is on the eleventh day of the eleventh month which is used to signify the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I.
  4. Every year on Veterans Day, Arlington National Cemetery holds an annual memorial service. The cemetery is home to the graves of over 400,000 people almost all of whom served in the military.
  5. Great Britain, France, Australia, and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World War I and World War II on or near November 11th. World War I was a multinational effort, so it makes sense that our allies also wanted to celebrate their veterans on November 11. Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11th. 
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