Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11 in the United States. This holiday honors veterans of the armed forces and those who lost their lives in war. The first Veterans Day was celebrated on the first anniversary of the 1918 armistice that ended the first World War. Thus, Veterans day was originally named Armistice Day.
The date of Veterans Day is very significant. The armistice between the allied forces and Germany that ended World War I was put into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
In 1954 Armistice day was renamed Veterans Day to honor Veterans of all wars since the US had fought in two other huge wars-World War II and the Korean War.
From 1971-1977 a “Uniform Holiday Bill was passed, moving Veterans Day from a set date to a Monday so federal employees could have a 3-day weekend. However, this was short-lived because many Americans continued to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11 and others on the new date. The switch was considered confusing and unnecessary, so in 1978 President Gerald R. Ford changed Veterans Day back to November 11.
The US is not the only country to celebrate Veterans Day. Other countries also remember their Veterans. Canada and Australia also honor their Veterans on November 11 but call it “Remembrance Day .” Great Britain also observes “Remembrance Day” on the Sunday closest to November 11.
Every Veterans Day and every Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetery holds a Memorial Service.
In 2016 President Barack Obama signed the Veterans day Moment of silence Act. At 3:11 Pm Atlantic Standard Time each Veterans Day, the current president issues an official moment of silence for two minutes to reflect and honor our veterans’ service.
The last surviving WWI veteran to die in 2011 was Frank Buckles. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on March 15, 2011.
Closely intertwined with the Veterans Day holiday is the tomb of the unknown soldier. The simple tomb made of Colorado marble encloses the body of an unidentified American Soldier who died in France during World War I. This soldier was interred in the tomb on Armistice Day in 1921. President Warren G. Harding presided over the ceremony. The tomb is guarded 24/7 year-round and remains the focal point of Veterans Day Celebrations.