Today is Vetran’s day. While yesterday was the day that most Americans “observed” the holiday, this is one of the holidays that has a particular date set. November 11 is Veterans day for a particular reason.
Veterans Day is a day to honor all veterans, living or dead, who have fought for their country. Usually it focuses more on those living, as Memorial Day focuses more on those who died during their service.
It was started in 1919 on the first anniversary of the armistice, or the end of World War 2. At the time it was called Armistice day. In 1927, Congress passed a resolution to make it an annual event, and in 1938 it officially became a US holiday. After World War II, however, it was clear that the ‘War to End All Wars’ was unfortunately not the truth. In 1954, Congress passed HR 7786, which renamed it from Armistice Day to Veterans day to honor the veterans of all wars. The US is not the only country to celebrate a Veterans Day, although in many countries it is still known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.
The first world war ended on June 28, 1919 but Veterans day is set upon the armistice between the nations that took place on November 11, 1918. It did not officially end the war, but it ended the fighting. The agreement was to end hostilities on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Thus, at 11am (Paris time – so 5am in New York) on November 11, 1918 the actual fighting stopped. It took till June to formulate and sign the Treaty that would formally end the war.
For a brief period of time starting in 1971 Veterans Day was on a Monday to create a 3 day weekend, and would end up at various times depending on who designed the holiday calendar that year. However, in 1975, Veterans Day returned to its home on November 11, which has historical significance. Still, while the official day is still November 11, regardless of when it falls during the week, the closing of federal offices occurs the friday or Monday closest to the actual observance. (This year that being Friday the 10th). This is why you will sometimes see Veterans Day twice on your calendar. One will say Observed (i.e. The three day weekend) and one will simply say Veterans Day.
I have several veterans in my family. Both my grandfathers served. My paternal Grandfather Henry served with the Navy during the last year or so of World War II. He actually lied to get into service, being only 16 when he enlisted. He would find out later that he was actually one of the guards doing duty during the transport of the Hydrogen bomb that would be tested.
My other Grandfather served briefly during Korea, and I have an Uncle, Aunt, and several cousins who served or continue to serve in various branches of the Armed Services. So today I thank them and all other veterans for the time they spent serving our country.