History Lesson: Veterans Day

Bethany Dunn
November 10, 2017

Do your kids have today off from school? Make it more than just a day off. Today is a great opportunity to talk about the significance and history of the holiday. 

So just what is the history of Veterans Day (which, by the way, is the official spelling as declared by the federal government)? Just how did we come to honor our nation's veterans each November 11?

The date itself is in reference to the Armistice that was signed on November 11, 1918; this accord ended the major hostilities of the World War I. One year later, President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day. Then, on June 4, 1926, the US Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue an additional proclamation to observe each November 11 with appropriate remembrance ceremonies. Finally, on May 13, 1938, a federal law was passed that made each November 11 a national, legal holiday and as a "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'"

A private citizen, Kansas shoe shop owner Al King, lobbied for the evolution of the holiday to one that would honor all US veterans, not just those who served in World War I. With the help of Mr. King's US Representative Ed Reese, a bill to change the holiday was moved through Congress. On May 26, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law in May 26, 1954. Later in 1954, Congress amended the act, and the change from "Armistice" to "Veterans" was complete.  

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