Veterans Day on November 11th honors military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces. This federal holiday coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which marks World War I. These observances reflect the end of significant hostilities at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany took effect. Initially, the United States observed Armistice Day as well. However, it evolved into the current Veterans Day in 1954.
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. At the time, he said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
“Hunger does not breed reform, it breeds madness.” ~President Woodrow Wilson
The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. The resolution requested that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11th with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'”
U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954.
Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
Initially, the country observed Veterans Day on November 11th. However, starting in 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act required the federal holiday to be moved. Congress scheduled the observance for the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, Congress moved it back to its original celebration on November 11th. While the legal holiday remains on November 11th, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will generally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively.