On November 11th, 1918, a new legal holiday was created to commemorate the end of World War I. In 1938, the Act of 1938 was passed that stated that hereafter, November 11th was, “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.” Thus, the holiday that would come to be Veterans’ Day was born.
This day was originally created to honor those who had served in World War I. However, after being through World War II and the Korean War, it was decided by Congress, urged by many military and veteran groups, that we needed a day that would honor all veterans, not just those who had served in all wars. Thus, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938, and struck out the word ‘Armistice’ and exchanged it for the word ‘Veterans’.
This legislation was approved on June 1, 1954, and created the Veterans Day that we now celebrate.
The Uniforms Holiday Bill of 1968 was written in order to give federal employees certain three day weekends. When this bill was signed into action, it established Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Columbus Day on certain Mondays throughout the year. This meant that Veteran’s Day was moved from its established date of November 11th to the fourth Monday of October.
Many states disputed this, so, when October 25th, 1971 rolled around, Veteran’s Day was celebrated with much confusion on its new date. After several years of celebration on this new date, President Gerald Ford signed a bill on September 20th, 1975 that transferred the holiday back to its original date. Veteran’s Day has been celebrated on November 11th ever since.
On August 4th, 2001, United States Senate Resolution 143 was passed. This resolution created ‘National Veterans Awareness Week’ to be celebrated between November 11th and November 17th in 2001. The end goal of this resolution was to bring continuing education about the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.
Many people confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day. However, the two are very distinct. On Memorial Day, you celebrate and remember all who have fallen in sacrifice for their country. Veteran’s Day, however, is to celebrate and honor the sacrifice of active and inactive military who are still currently living.
So, today, thank a Veteran. This holiday means so much to so many, and their sacrifices have protected your freedom. We are the land of the free because of the brave.