Veterans Day observed for 90 years
Veterans Day was officially created in 1926, but the seeds for Veterans Day began in 1919. November 11, 1919 is forever known as the day World War I ended. Famously, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was signed between the fighting nations.
The next year, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed November 11 a national holiday, exactly 90 years ago. Back then it was known as Armistice Day instead. It also ignored the fact that although November 11 was the day the US and Germany stopped fighting, the Treaty of Versailles that officially concluded the war didn’t get signed until June 1919.
In any case, the United States celebrated Armistice Day for the sole purpose of honoring the end of WWI and those who fought and died there. Armistice Day was honored each year with parades and celebrations, and suspensions of business at 11 a.m.
However, it was not an official national holiday until 1938, one of the last peacetime years in post WWI America.
When World War II came and went, World War I took a backseat in people’s memories. The sacrifices and fighting by America’s WWII soldiers, and those who were fighting in the Korean War, now needed to be honored as well.
Therefore, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day, as now Veterans Day would honor all Americans from all wars, not just WWI.
Dwight Eisenhower created the new Veterans Day in 1954. In 1971, Veterans Day was no longer celebrated on November 11, but on a Monday in November to encourage three day weekend travel.
But that created confusion and controversy, so President Carter returned Veterans Day to November 11, regardless of what day of the week it fell on.
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