In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
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Veterans Day: For Love, Honor and Sacrifice

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For their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good, we honor all America's veterans.

HOW VETERANS DAY BEGAN

When an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, November 11, 1918, it was regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars:" World War I.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "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..."

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. In May 1938, Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) 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."

FROM ARMISTICE DAY TO VETERANS DAY

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation's history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

VETERANS DAY PROCLAMATION

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."

In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.

MODERN VETERANS DAY

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. On September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479) which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day.



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