Those who protect us have always been heroes. Throughout history there have been countless celebrations and acknowledgements for those who have fought to protect freedom and battle against enemies. Every year in the United States and in some other parts of the world, we celebrate Veterans Day. The holiday honoring those who have served has a history dating back to World War I.
What we now know as Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson coined the term in 1919 to commemorate the ending of World War I which ended a year prior on November 11, 1918.
The Armistice of November 11, 1918 was signed in France by the Allied and Central Powers of World War I. They signed the armistice treaty on November 11 at 11 a.m., which is why we celebrate Veteran’s Day on 11/11. Many refer to this moment and remember Veterans Day with the phrase “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”.
Congress recognized Armistice Day in 1926 and passed a law for an annual observance. November 11 was officially recognized as a national holiday in 1938. It wasn’t until 1954, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower that Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day. The move came after the United States fought in both World War II and the Korean War.
From 1971 to 1975, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October after Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill which declared certain holidays were to take place on Monday. In 1975, President Gerald Ford changed Veterans Day back to November 11.
Other countries followed the United States and also have days commemorating veterans- Canada and the United Kingdom celebrates Remembrance Day on November 11. Remembrance Sunday is recognized in the United Kingdom on the Sunday nearest to November 11 with various ceremonies and two minutes of silence.