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|Veterans Day History and Facts
Written by Kate.net
When is Veterans Day?
Veterans Day is celebrated in the U.S. on November 11 each year -- although if November 11 falls on a weekend, holiday leave may be given on the nearest weekday preceding or following the holiday. In 2012, November 11 falls on a Sunday.
What is Veterans Day?
Veterans Day is a U.S. national holiday set aside to honor, remember, and thank those men and women who have served our
country through their military service. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs describes the observance as a day, "to thank and honor
ALL those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime."
Not to be confused with Memorial Day,
which is a special observance to remember those who lost their lives in service to the country, Veterans Day is a day
to thank and honor living veterans for their service, as well as remember those who lost their lives, with the former generally being the
more prominent focus of the day.
Is it "Veterans Day" or "Veterans' Day"?
Per the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the proper usage is "Veterans Day," as the day does not belong to
veterans (thus no apostrophe denoting possession), but is instead a day to honor all veterans.
What is the history of Veterans Day?
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first "Armistice Day" to honor the end of
the "war to end all wars," WWI. The November 11th date was chosen in remembrance of the armistice (the cessation of hostilities between the Allies and Germany)
which went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In 1938, Congress passed
legislation to make the day a legal federal holiday. Armistice Day generally became a day to honor those who served in WWI.
It wasn't until 1954 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Congress, at the request of various individuals and veterans groups, amended the 1938 law to change the observance's name to "Veterans Day" to honor all veterans who had served, including by this time veterans of
WWII and the Korean War.
For a period of time in the 1970s, the date of the national holiday was changed on the federal level to occur on the fourth Monday of October to allow for another three-day weekend for federal employees. Many states, veterans groups, and citizens disagreed with the date change, however, preferring that Veterans Day be held on the historically significant date of November 11. In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation changing the date of observance back to November 11. This law took effect in 1978 and remains in effect today.
|Veterans Day Resources on the Web
- Veterans Day, from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
- Veterans Day Poster Gallery
Download current year's poster in different formats and view posters from past years
- Dept. of Veterans Affairs Teachers' Page
Classroom activities, additional resources
- VA Kids Page for K-5th Grade
Games and Activities, Cool Facts, About the Flag, About the VA, Links
- VA Kids Page for 6-12th Grades
Games, About VA, About Veterans, VA Volunteer & Scholarship Info., Resources/Links, The American Flag