Veterans Day A Brief History

Posted on: November 8th, 2023 | By Cliff Keith | Holidays | No Comments

Veterans Day A Brief History

Veterans Day A Brief History
9th Cav “We Can We Will”


Veterans Day; Americans know on November 11, 1918 was the day at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, in the eleventh month, was the end of the “The Great War” WWI.  It was the date the fighting ceased between the Allied Forces and Germany. November 11, 1918 was the end of War I. Furthermore, it was the location of signing the Treaty of Versailles between the Allied Forces and Germany. The Treaty was signed June 28, 1919, almost 8 months later after the fighting stopped.

Who was the leading supporters?

In 1919, US President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first Armistice Day.  “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride. For the heroism of those who died in the country’s service. And with gratitude for the victory” President Woodrow said this to his fellow Americans.

The Plan

Most noteworthy, the day was design to be one of celebrations. Originally there were parades and patriotic public meetings. Armistice Day surrounded itself with the feelings of thanks and good will towards others. Traditionally the United States outwardly displayed a spirit of peace and good relations with other nations. Americans  believed they had fought the last war they would ever have to fight.  No American wanted to experience the severe realities of war, which they had just gone through!

What did Congress do?

Veterans Day A Brief History
Medals Vietnam Era

Congress officially recognized the end of World War I on June 4, 1926. Congress at that time passed a resolution using these words:

“Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed.”

“Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”

And, “Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday:

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11.”

Thus “inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other people.”

May 13, 1938,  Congress made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday.  After WWII in 1954 Congress Amended the Act, at the request of veterans service organization.  “Armistice” and replaced it with “Veterans”.  June 1, 1954. November 11th became the day to honor American veterans for all wars.

Here’s a video of my unit in Vietnam

Veterans Day A Brief History
Combat Infantry Badge (CIB)

Do You Remember President Dwight D. Eisenhower?

October 8, 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation.

Content of the Veterans Day Proclamation states: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.” 

“Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which, will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance.”

In conclusion, President Eisenhower went on to say because: “I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”  We have President Eisenhower to thank because he was the one who organized the modern-day legislation for Veterans. It stands to reason with President Eisenhower being a 5 Star General in the US Army during WWII. He was also the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.

Making it simple

Though simplifying National Holidays, by making them a standard 3 day weekends, was the accepted solution. Congress on June 28, 1968 standardized National Holidays.  Congress’s simple plan was to combine and celebrate 4 National Holidays. Mondays would be the day for these National Holidays. Here’s the designated holidays Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.

Veterans Day A Brief History
DAV Seal

In 1971 there was an outcry by Americans. Because they wanted Congress to fix the current abstract holiday schedule. They were worried about a standard 3-day holidays for all holiday suggested by Congress. President Gerald R. Ford, on September 20th, 1975, signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date. As you may recall that was November 11th.

Preserving the historical significance of the original meaning of the Armistice Day.  Keeping the Veterans in the forefront of this legal federal holiday. Please don’t forget the American Veteran for all they have done for our great country. Because some served, and some gave the ultimate sacrifice, for their country.

Today, please help me by saying thank you to all the Veterans you may know or have known. They deserve your recognition and praise. Therefore, please do your part as an American and simply say thank you.

We Can – We Will


Veterans Day A Brief History
Made in USA

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