Veterans Day is an important holiday for people throughout the United States, and it certainly holds a special place for anyone who served in the military or has family who served.
Even though we celebrate it every year, many don’t know how Veterans Day came to be.
That’s why we’re giving you all the key details on the history of Veterans Day. It all starts towards the end of World War I.
Armistice Day Marks the End of World War I
The end of World War I officially came on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
However, an armistice, also known as a cease fire, occurred earlier than that on November 11, 1918.
At the time, World War I was known as “The War to End All Wars.”
In recognition of those who died in the brutal war, countries around the world, including the United States, began to celebrate Armistice Day every November 11th.
The Day Becomes a Holiday
On June 4, 1926, a resolution went through for the president to make a proclamation every November 11th and for there to be ceremonies marking the occasion.
It took over a decade for November 11th to become an official holiday, but it finally happened with a Congressional Act that was approved on May 13, 1938.
The day was still known as Armistice Day at the time and was dedicated to world peace.
Raymond Weeks Expands Armistice Day
Raymond Weeks was a World War II veteran, and in 1945, he felt that it’d be appropriate for Armistice Day to honor all veterans instead of just the ones who died during World War I.
Dwight Eisenhower, a general at the time who would later be elected president, agreed with this idea.
Weeks would go on to lead national celebrations every year from 1947 until he died in 1985.
President Ronald Reagan even named Weeks the Father of Veterans Day in 1982.
The Name Changes to Veterans Day
With Weeks holding his National Veterans Day celebration yearly, Ed Rees, a U.S. Representative, set up a bill for Congress to make it an official holiday.
On May 26, 1954, President Eisenhower signed this bill, and Congress made an amendment to it on June 1, 1954, changing the name of the day from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
When Veterans Day Occurs
The United States has recognized Veterans Day every year since its inception in 1954.
From 1954 to 1970, Veterans Day took place on November 11th. That changed with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which stipulated that certain federal holidays would always occur on Mondays.
The act moved Veterans Day so that it occurred on the fourth Monday in October.
This change lasted from 1971 to 1977. In 1978, the United States moved Veterans Day back to November 11th, where it has remained since then.
Veterans Day is an excellent opportunity to show gratitude to all who have served in our nation’s military.
What does Veterans Day mean to you? Leave us a comment below to let us know!