Veterans' Day November 11th 2006
A brief history of Veterans' Day, November 11
World War I, The Great War concluded with the start of a temporary cease fire. It ended when the peace agreement, the Treaty of Versailles, was signed in 1919 between the Allies and Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, 1918.
On November 11 President Woodrow Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day saying: "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…" The original the concept for the celebration was to cease business transactions for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M. The day was also to be marked by parades and public gatherings
In France and the United Kingdom ceremonies were held honoring their unknown dead from the war. In the U.S., President Wilson names the Sunday closest to Armistice Day, November 11th, Armistice Sunday, a day during which services promote the interest of international peace. The was a campaign successfully launched by various church groups.
Congressional legislation is passed approving the establishment of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. November 11 is selected as the date of the ceremony. On October 20, the Congress declared November 11, 1921 a legal Federal holiday to honor all veterans of the war.
1926 A Congressional resolution is adopted directing the President to make an annual proclamation for the observance of Armistice Day. From the 1920s and 1930s, most states and the Federal level commemorate November 11 as a legal holiday. The annual proclamation is issued by the President.
Congress passed legislation on May 13 making November 11 a legal Federal holiday, Armistice Day. The United States has no ‘actual’ national holidays because the states retain the right to designate their own holidays. The Federal government can in fact only designate holidays for Federal employees and for the District of Columbia. But in practice the states almost always follow the Federal lead in designation of holidays.
1950- 1953 As a result of World War II and the Korean Conflict millions of additional war veterans are created and added to those of the First World War honored by Armistice Day.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs legislation on June1 changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day.
The Monday Holiday Law is passed by the Congress to establish the fourth Monday in October as the new date for the observance of Veteran’s Day. The law, however, is to take effect in 1971.
While the Federal observance of Veterans Day is held on the fourth Monday of October generally all states follow suit except Mississippi and South Dakota. Other states changed their observances back to November 11 as follows: In 1972- Louisiana and Wisconsin reverted to November 11; followed by- Kentucky, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, South Carolina, West Virginia in 1974; In 1975- California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming also reverted to November 11
Popular support throughout the country is the reason legislation was passed to make the Federal observance of Veteran’s Day November 11. Despite the change to the fourth Monday in October, November 11 was the day 46 states commemorated recognition of those who served in the wars. The law was to take effect in 1978.
Veteran’s Day observance reverts to November 11.
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