Originally, November 11 was simply known as “Armistice Day.” In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, a temporary cessation of fighting was called between the Allied nations and Germany during World War I. “Armistice Day” was commemorated each following year, starting with all businesses suspending any activity for the two minutes directly after 11 am. Parades and public gatherings also honored the day.
Another tradition began shortly thereafter: honoring unknown soldiers. It’s a tradition that continues today. At 11 am on Veterans Day every year, a color guard ceremony represents all branches of the military at Arlington National Ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Armistice Day became a nationally recognized holiday until 1938. Following the Second World War and the Korean War, Armistice Day transitioned into Veterans Day, in order to honor all American veterans.
For a brief period of time, Veterans Day was moved by Congress to the fourth Friday in October, with the purpose of providing government workers with a long weekend. Thankfully, in 1975, President Ford moved Veterans Day back to November 11, due to the historically significance of the date.
A recent census showed that over 21 million veterans are alive today. That’s a lot of people to thank for their service to our country!
For more information, visit www.jbson41.com. And, if you’d like even more information on Veterans Day, visit http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-veterans-day.