In the United States, November 11th is a federal holiday honoring veterans. It's also known as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day.
In 1918, World War I ended with an agreement between all sides at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to stop fighting. That date became a symbol for peace that evolved into Veterans' Day in America. The idea was to commemorate those who died while serving their country during wartime by taking time each year to remember their sacrifices and honor them with ceremonies like parades, speeches, wreath-laying ceremonies, and other events where people gather together to show appreciation for our veterans (and reflect on what freedom really means).
The history of this holiday is fascinating.
1919: Treaty of Versailles
The thing is – the war didn’t technically end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed nearly eight months after fighting ended. Armistice Day was intended to honor WWI Vets and the conclusion of the war. So, after the treaty was signed, there were years of disagreement about which date should be officially recognized as the end of the war.
1926: Decision Made
A few years later, in 1926, Congress concluded that the official day of recognition would be held on the date the armistice was signed. So, Armistice Day continued to be celebrated on November 11th. Note: by this time, 27 states had already begun to recognize Armistice Day – November 11th – as a legal holiday.
1954: Name Change
Of course, Armistice Day was intended to honor those who served in WWI but fast forward a few decades, and both World War II and the Korean War had begun and ended. Congress now found itself in a conundrum. How were we to honor the brave men and women who fought for their country during these subsequent conflicts?
So, in 1954 the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day.” Salutes, parades, ceremonies, and other methods of honoring WWI Veterans now extended to all American Veterans regardless of the war in which they served.
1968: The Uniform Monday Holiday Act
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which recognized four federal holidays, including Veterans Day, on Mondays. Therefore, beginning in this year, Veterans Day was to be recognized on the fourth Monday in October.
The 11th of November was set to become a federal holiday in America, but it wasn't until 1970 that Veterans Day became widely celebrated. This change came about due in large part because many states were conflicted on what date should be observed as Armistice or Civil War Thanksgiving day - the original celebrations occurred alongside these events which had significant historical importance for Americans at various levels of society including veterans themselves.
1975: One Last Change
Eventually, in 1975, Congress agreed to change the date of Veterans Day back to November 11th. This change took place in 1978.
2021: Here We Are
So, there you have it. And here we are, 103 years after the end of the Great War, celebrating Veterans Day 2021 on Thursday, November 11th.
As a veteran-owned and operated company, Blue Line Heroes believes in honoring those who have served our great nation. To give others a chance to join us in celebrating our veterans, we've released a one-of-kind design that you can view here.