The History of Veterans Day

Written by Joe Paschen

To appreciate the value and honor of Veteran’s Day, one must understand the historical background of this national holiday.

Let’s first clarify that Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May, is to honor the memory of those military members who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country’s freedom.

Veteran’s Day is in place to honor all those who have served in the United States military, and their families, who are still with us.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice was signed, officially ending World War I in Europe. That day became known as “Armistice Day” in 1919. A proclamation by then President Woodrow Wilson made November 11th  a day to remember all those who served during “the war to end all wars.”

Similar days of celebration known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day still exist in other allied countries to this day.

In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge officially proclaimed November 11th as a recognized day honoring our World War I veterans.

Twelve years later the U.S. Congress declared that November 11th would, from then on, be a legal holiday known as Armistice Day.

Within three years, another “war to end all wars” would surface on a larger global scale.  At the conclusion of World War II, a movement was afoot to honor all U.S. military veterans on November 11th.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former  Supreme Commander of the  Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during WWII, signed a bill officially marking November 11th as a national holiday to be changed from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day.

There were several years during the 1970’s when Veteran’s Day was moved to late October as part of the “3 day weekend holidays.”

In 1978, Veteran’s Day was moved back to November 11th, where it remains.

America’s veterans have sacrificed years of their lives to serve their country and provide combat and support forces of every imaginable skill, to keep our country’s freedom secure.

As many a bumper sticker says, “If You Love Your Freedom, Thank God and a Veteran”.

In Galatians 5:1 Paul writes God’s words, “It was for freedom that Christ set us Free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

The men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces have earned their stripes, and we pray, your respect.

May God continue to bless all veterans and their families. May they remain steadfast, standing firm in the name of Jesus Christ and the United States of America!

Joe Paschen is a born again Christian husband, father of 7, USMC veteran (1973-75), free-lance broadcast-journalist for over 40 years (who has covered all amateur and pro levels of sports), a researcher of history and a veteran bartender for over 40 years.

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