History of Veterans Day

Above, Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Veterans Day was celebrated on Wednesday. Photo Courtesy: Jack Nolan

Surprisingly and unfortunately, a good portion of Americans do not know the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Veterans Day celebrates all soldiers, veterans, and their sacrifices, annually on November 11.

Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, is the result of the armistice on November 11. The armistice ended fighting in World War I at 11 o’clock on November 11, 1918: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This was dubbed as “the war to end all wars” (nobody expected World War II at this point).

“Armistice Day” was declared a legal holiday on May 13,1938, to honor veterans of World War I. The word “armistice” was replaced with “veterans” and on June 1, 1954, November 11 became the holiday to honor veterans of all American wars. Then, President Dwight Eisenhower issued a “Veterans Day Proclamation” recognizing all veterans. Although there were plans to move the holiday to a Monday in November, it is still celebrated on November 11, regardless of what day of the week it is according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs .

Originally, the holiday was meant to be celebrated by having parades and a short suspension of business affairs at 11 a.m. Today, government offices are closed on Veterans Day, which of course includes public schools.

For people with family members in the military, Veterans Day hits home. “Veterans Day is about remembering the people who fought for our country and the sacrifices they and their families make,” explained Harry Svendsgaard, a sophomore whose father is active in the Navy. “It means a lot to me,” he finished.

On Wednesday, in addition to enjoying their day off, hopefully, people took the time to thank a veteran for the sacrifices they make to protect our country’s freedom.


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