History

Honoring Our Heroes: A Brief History of Veterans Day

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The year is 1919. The United States has spent the past year recovering from what was thought to be the “war to end all wars.” World War I saw the deaths of 116,516 soldiers, along with the introduction of tank warfare and the use of poison gas. On November 11, 1918, the war finally came to an end.

Now, one year later on November 11, the nation is eager to honor its heroes, both those who died in battle and those who made it home; and thus Veterans Day was created.

The Name

Through the Years" The History of Veteran's Day-Brandon Day

Photo: Unsplash

When it was first created, this holiday was known as “Armistice Day.” An armistice is also known as a peace treaty, which relates back to the end of WWI. However, according to History.com, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name to “Veterans Day” in 1954.

The Date

Through the Years: The History of Veterans Day

Photo: Unsplash

In 1926, the U.S. Congress declared Veterans Day should be observed each year, however, it was not until 1938 that it became an official national holiday. Though Veterans Day was originally intended to be celebrated on the anniversary of the first day of peace after WWI, November 11, that has not always been the case. Military.com notes that in 1968, a new law put in place by the government wanted to ensure government employees received a three-day weekend around certain holidays. This led to Veterans Day being moved to the fourth Monday in October.

Thankfully, by 1978 a law was passed to return the holiday to its original celebratory date.

The Celebration

Through the Years: The History of Veterans Day
Photo: Pixabay

Unlike Memorial Day which focuses primarily on veterans who died while serving our country or who have since passed away, Veterans Day honors those still living who served in times of war and in times of peace. Celebrations of all sorts take place across the country, with one of the most somber being the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetary.

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