Veterans Day is a federal holiday observed on November 11 in the United States in honor of all the military veterans who served the country. The tradition dates back to November 11, 1919, when the then President of the US, Woodrow Wilson proclaimed this day as the Armistice Day in honor of all war veterans of the World War I. Since then it is observed as a federal holiday in the United States of America.
Why is November 11 Observed as Veterans Day?
On November 11, 1918, the World War I finally came to an end when the German forces signed the Armistice. Thus, the day went down the history as one of the most crucial days for humanity. While the Americans celebrate it as Veterans Day today, for other nations it's the Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.
In fact, even in the United States, it was observed as the Armistice Day until 1954, when a new federal law replaced the word 'Armistice' with 'Veterans'. This marked the beginning of the tradition of honoring all those Americans who participated in various wars for the United States, and not just the World War I veterans.
Trivia: You will come across Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day in several cases, but the US administration recognizes the Veterans Day as the official spelling of the same.
5 Less-known Facts About Veterans Day
- It was President Woodrow Wilson who proclaimed November 11 as the Armistice Day in the United States in 1919. While declaring this day as a holiday, Wilson highlighted the fact that the day was observed to honor the heroism of those who died in the country's service. Eventually, an Act passed on May 13, 1938, which made provisions for declaring November 11 every year a legal holiday and dedicated the day to the noble cause of world peace.
- By 1954, the United States of America had participated in two major wars; the World War II and the Korean War, where several American soldiers lost their lives. Taking a note of this, the Veterans Administration urged the United States Congress to amend the Act of 1938 and replace the word Armistice with Veterans, thus making this day the Veterans Day. On June 1, 1954, the Congress amended this act and renamed it. Since then, this day has been observed as the Veterans Day in the United States.
- Some sources suggest that the idea of celebrating this day as a tribute to all war veterans and not just the World War I veterans was put forth by a shoe store owner from Kansas, Alfred King.
- Though it was initially decided that the 11th day of the 11th month of every year will be observed as Veterans Day, in 1971 it was shifted to fourth Monday of October. As per the new change, it was celebrated on October 25 in 1971. This change, however, resulted in great deal of confusion, as a result of which it was shifted back to November 11 in 1978.
- In 2001, a resolution passed by the US Senate declared the week from November 11 to November 17 as the National Veterans Awareness Week in a bid to spread awareness about the same.
Of late, this day is celebrated across the nation by organizing ceremonial parades and other such activities by various organizations. Even the educational institutes in the country organize various activities for students in order to make them realize its importance. After all, it's ironic that most people, especially the children, remember it as a federal holiday.