In Honor of Veterans Day
This year, on November 11, Americans across the country will gather on Veterans Day to celebrate those who’ve fought for our freedoms. The federal holiday commemorates our agreement with Germany to end the first World War.
One year after the war ended, the country celebrated “Armistice Day.” Eventually, the holiday became known as “Veterans Day.”
Here’s a brief history of the holiday and some facts you may not have known.
It wasn’t until 1926 that Congress would pass a resolution to ensure that the event would be celebrated every year. Starting in 1938, November 11 was designated as the official day for the occasion.
The signing of the armistice to end the war was entered upon by all of the Allied nations and Germany, which was effective on the eleventh month of the year, on the eleventh day, and on the eleventh hour.
At this point, the countries agreed to stop all hostilities. Later, on June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versaille was signed, officially ending World War I.
The original intent of the holiday’s observance was to stop business at 11 a.m. on November 11 so that parades and public meetings could take place.
People often confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. Memorial Day honors fallen soldiers who died serving the country. However, Veterans Day celebrates the service of anyone who has served or is serving their country.
We are not the only country that celebrates Veteran’s day. Canada, Australia and Great Britain also honor the event.
Here are some interesting facts about Veterans Day:
- In 1968, Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill to designated four three-day weekends throughout the year, one of which was Veterans Day. The purpose was to encourage Americans to travel, and engage in recreational activities and cultural events. Ideally, the holidays would stimulate commercial and industrial business, too.
- President Eisenhower officially changed the holiday’s name in 1954 to Veterans Day, leaving Armistice Day behind.
- Canada’s and Australia’s Nov. 11 holiday is called Remembrance Day; Great Britain celebrates has Remembrance Sunday.
- The number of living veterans breaks down like this: 2.3 million served in World War II; 2.7 million served in the Korean War; 7.6 million served in the Vietnam War; 4.5 million served in the Gulf War; 5.6 million served during peacetime.
- Florida, California and Texas are the states with the most veterans; combined, 34 percent of veterans live in these states.
- The government contracted Disney to make films for each of its branches during World War I and II. During this time, 90 percent of the film company’s employees labored on training videos and war propaganda films.
- Every year, Arlington Cemetery holds a special Veterans Day service at 11 a.m. for those who’ve died in the wars at the Tomb of the Unknown.
This Veterans Day, take some time to honor those who served our country well in the Great War and other significant events. But also set aside time to relax and restore.