On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared the date an annual holiday (Armistice Day) in remembrance of those who had taken up arms in World War I. The declaration followed the previous year’s end to the bloody war (November 11, 1918), which had greatly affected the population of the of soldiers’ generation.
In 1945, Raymond Weeks (a World War II veteran from Alabama) proposed to extend Armistice day to all veterans, not just those who had died during WWI. Weeks led a nine-year assembly to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who eventually supported the idea.
Weeks led the first national celebration in Alabama, and every year until his death in 1985. Weeks was ultimately honored by Ronald Reagan for his dedication to the forming of the holiday.
Congress officially amended the act on June 1, 1954, changing “Armistice” to “Veterans.” In 1971, the holiday was moved to the fourth Monday of October in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
In 1978, the celebration was moved back to its original November 11 date.
Veterans Day happens to fall on the same date as several significant military milestones, including: The end of WWI (1918), George S. Patton’s birthday (1885), the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknowns (1921) and the draft age being lowered to 18-year-old (1942).
While Veterans Day is often spelled “Veteran’s Day” or “Veterans’ Day,” the holiday is officially written without the apostrophe, according to the United States government.
Today, Americans celebrate Veterans Day by attending a soldiers’ parade, spending time with veteran family/friends, visiting the resting places of those who have passed and reminding those who have served that they are appreciated, loved and respected.
Veterans Day is one of the most revered holiday’s by servicemen and women alike. (Not to mention jerky companies!) Be sure to wish your veteran a happy Veterans Day week!