What is Veterans Day?
Today, most people recognize the name Veterans day, while fewer recall that the original name was Armistice Day. The first Armistice Day was proposed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, the original purpose to celebrate peace between nations after World War I.
Today, most people have Veterans day off from work, however this was not the original intention of the declaration. In fact, the original premise was that on November 11, the day would be celebrated with public parades, public meetings and that all business would stop at 11am. Clearly, this is much different than what we have come to expect today, though many areas still celebrate Veterans day with parades.
The original bill to celebrate Armistice day was passed through Congress using a concurrent resolution in June of 1926, nearly 8 years after the end of World War I. Interestingly enough, the House passed this bill noting that 26 states already celebrated and recognized this date. In May of 1938, the holiday was recognized as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” It was noted the date would always be November 11. It wasn’t until 1954 that the word “Armistice” was officially replaced with Veterans, an acknowledgement that World War II had produced a larger number of Veterans than World War I. It was in October of the same year that President Eisenhower issued the first proclomation celebrating Veterans day and appointing the Administrator of Veteran’s Affairs as the first chairman.
June of 1968 created some confusion for those who typically celebrated Veterans Day on November 11 when a new bill was signed allowing for three day weekends for Federal employees. In spite of the changes, most states continued to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11 and in 1975 President Ford signed Public Law 94-97 which changed Veterans Day back to November 11 effective in 1978. Each year, Veterans Day is still recognized on November 11, however, most states continue to use the Monday before or after as a legal holiday, hence in 2012, the “official” holiday is on Sunday while most employees will have Monday, November 12, off from work.