On Veterans Day, Americans honor all living military veterans, including the many living veterans of military service, as well as those who lost their lives in service to their country.
Here are some interesting Veterans Day facts you may not know:
1. Veterans Day was initially known as Armistice day
Records show that one year after the end of World War I, US President Woodrow Wilson instituted Armistice Day. Armistice Day was introduced to remember those who died during the war. It falls on the anniversary of when the Armistice with Germany went into effect – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This is considered the first Veterans Day.
2. Veterans Day is a federal holiday celebrated around the United States of America
In 1938, 20 years after the end of World War I and 19 years after the first Armistice Day, the United States Congress made Armistice Day a legal holiday. The federal holiday is celebrated every November 11. US Post Offices are closed on this day, as well as some parts of the government. Parades are also thrown around the country to commemorate the holiday.
3. Raymond Weeks singlehandedly advocated for the change of Armistice Day to Veterans Day
A veteran of World War II, Raymond Weeks, wanted to expand the celebration of Armistice Day to include all veterans, not just the ones who served and died in the First World War. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a congressional bill that expanded the scope of Armistice Day. A couple of days after the president signed the bill, Congress officially changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
4. The date was also changed
From 1971 to 1977, Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. In 1978 however, the holiday took back its rightful date on November 11 and continues to be celebrated annually on that day. However, if Veterans Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, businesses and government organizations that celebrate may be closed on the Friday or Monday before or after the holiday to fully observe the off day.
5. It is not only celebrated in the United States of America, Australia and Canada also celebrate
Remembrance Day on November 11 commemorates the veterans of World War I and II. The United Kingdom celebrates Remembrance Day on the Sunday closest to November 11. Some countries, including France, still celebrate Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I.
6. The great apostrophe conundrum
Many calendars and ads insert an apostrophe into Veterans Day, spelling it either Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day. Using an apostrophe implicates possession. The United States government decreed the proper spelling does not use an apostrophe, making Veterans an attributive noun that modifies the noun day.
7. Raymond Weeks led the parade for 38 years
While Raymond Weeks worked tremendously hard toward making sure that Veterans Day was celebrated as a national holiday, he instituted a parade and celebration in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Weeks led the annual parade from 1947 – the first parade – until his death in 1985. Veterans Day facts show the parade still continues as the city of Birmingham carries on his legacy.
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