November 11, 2010
8:00 PM Veterans Day
On Veterans Day 2009, Soldiers Honored:
The armed forces of the United States are regularly honored all the time. They even have two holidays recognized for their service to the country. The first holiday is Memorial Day, which takes place in the beginning of the summer. The second holiday is today, Veterans Day, in the beginning of the fall. Memorial Day is a generic celebration of those who died in service. But as for Veterans Day, it was originally created to honor a specific day in U.S. and world history.
Veterans Day was officially created in 1926, but the seeds for Veterans Day began in 1919. November 11, 1919 is forever known as the day World War I ended. Famously, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was signed between the fighting nations.
The next year, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed November 11 a national holiday, exactly 90 years ago. Back then it was known as Armistice Day instead. It also ignored that although November 11 was the day the US and Germany stopped fighting, the Treaty of Versailles that officially concluded the war didn't get signed until June 1919.
In any case, the United States celebrated Armistice Day for the sole purpose of honoring the end of WWI and those who fought and died there. Armistice Day was honored each year with parades and celebrations, and suspensions of business at 11 a.m.
However, it was not an official national holiday until 1938, one of the last peacetime years in post WWI America.
When World War II came and went, World War I took a backseat in people's memories. The sacrifices and fighting by America's WWII soldiers, and those that were fighting in the Korean War, now needed to be honored as well.
Therefore, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day, as now Veterans Day would honor all Americans from all wars, not just WWI.
Dwight Eisenhower created the new Veterans Day in 1954. In 1971, Veterans Day was no longer celebrated on November 11, but on a Monday in November to encourage three day weekend travel.
But that created confusion and controversy, so President Carter returned Veterans Day to November 11, regardless of what day of the week it fell under.