This Veterans Day we give thanks to all who have served, and continue to serve, our country.
This Veterans Day, as we celebrate and honor those individuals who have served our country as members of the United States military, we also take a look back at how this important day of recognition came to be.
History of Veterans Day
The first Veterans Day was recognized in 1919 and was known as Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th 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…”
Armistice Day was originally named to honor those who served in World War I, or “The Great War.” While WWI officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, fighting had ended seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This is why November 11th is the date we celebrate Veterans Day each year.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, to honor American veterans of all wars. This was an acknowledgement that Americans’ service to our country had expanded beyond The Great War to include World War II, which had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in the nation’s history, and the Korean War, where American forces fought aggression in Korea. In order to recognize all veterans, and at the urging of veterans service organizations, the 83rd Congress 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 is a particularly meaningful day because while it pays tribute to all American veterans, whether living or dead, it focuses on giving thanks to living veterans who have served our country honorably, both during wartime and peacetime. If you have a veteran in your life, be sure to express your thanks to them on this Veterans Day. All of us here at Burnett & Williams offer our gratitude to those who have served and continue to serve our country — thank you.