Veterans Day: History and Information

Updated on November 5, 2019
Chris Samhain profile image

National holidays in the United States are often taken for granted. I want to help change that and provide legitimate information to others.

Veterans Day is celebrated annually in the U.S. on November 11th.
Veterans Day is celebrated annually in the U.S. on November 11th.

History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and paid tribute to the soldiers of World War I (WWI) from the United States, Great Britain, and France. Armistice Day was celebrated on November 11th and started in 1919. The date signified the signing of a ceasefire between the Allied powers and Germany at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. This was the end of WWI.

Armistice Day was originally a holiday that took place on November 11th. Observers took a day to reflect on the sacrifices that our service members make for our countries. Many observed two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. to quietly reflect on this topic.

Quick Facts About World War I

  • There were 40+ million casualties (California's population is between 39 and 40 million).
  • 23 million people were wounded in the war.
  • It was the deadliest conflict in human history.
  • At least 32 countries were affected.

In 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day. There have been a number of rumors about his reasoning, but all evidence points to the simple issue that WWI did not end all wars and there have been wars and veterans before and since.

An interesting tidbit of information about Veterans Day is that the date was actually changed from November 11th to the fourth Monday in October. This was declared in 1968 to begin in 1971. Gerald Ford changed the date back to November 11th because of its significance in 1975.

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.

— President Wilson

Other Countries and Veterans Day

Do other countries celebrate Veterans Day? A simple answer to this would be "No." Most countries that originally celebrated Armistice Day changed the holiday in later years. Many countries now call it Remembrance Sunday. In many cases, the date has been moved to the closest Sunday to November 11th. This way, if November 11th falls on a weekday, the holiday won't cause issues with manufacturing or commerce. And The purpose of Remembrance Sunday is to remember all those who have fallen in war. This is slightly different than the United States' switch from Armistice to Veterans Day.

To Our Veterans

I understand that I do not always agree with others' behaviors, policies, beliefs, etc., but I appreciate that you are or were willing to put yourself on the line in order to help our country, those you know, and those that you do not know and may never know.

Although some may say that you signed up for it, I will never know what your other options were and will continue to appreciate your willingness to serve. Thank you.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Chris Samhain

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