The federal holiday known as Veterans Day in the United States is always held on November 11. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice – the end of World War I hostilities between Germany and the Allied nations. The signing took place at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. It was first celebrated as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919.
Armistice Day was approved as a legal federal holiday on May 13, 1938, and was meant to honor the veterans of World War I. In 1954, following World War II and the Korean War, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day, a day set apart to honor all American veterans wherever and whenever they serve their country.
In 1968 Congress passed a bill that made most federal holidays fall on Monday. Veterans Day was supposed to be on the fourth Monday of October. Many states disagreed with the new law and continued to honor their veterans on November 11. A few years later in 1975 another bill was passed stating that Veterans Day would be held on November 11 from 1978 onwards. Veterans Day is held annually on November 11, just as it should be.
I have a young veteran friend who has the opportunity from time to time to accompany older veterans on the Honor Flights to Washington, D.C. He is always thrilled to make the flight and is grateful to offer the service. My daughter has an “adopted” father who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Each year she accompanies him to the reunion of his shipmates.
There are many things that we can do – both on Veterans Day and throughout the year – to honor the men and women who stood between the enemy and our homeland. I hope you will take the time to honor the veterans that you know personally. To all who currently serve and protect and to those who accepted the duty previously, I say Thank You!