As I mentioned last year, I am very thankful for veterans, but I’ll be honest…I do not know a lot about Veterans Day. The day seems to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the impending holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Up until this week, I thought it was one of those holidays that always falls on a Monday.
So I thought it would be appropriate to use my weekly question format (Wonder Why Wednesday) to learn a little more about this important holiday.
Wonder Why Wednesday: Veterans Day Edition
When Was The First Veterans Day?
This is a little bit of a tricky question. On May 13, 1938, a Federal Act was approved which made November 11th a legal holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace. Initially, it primarily a day to honor veterans of World War I and was known as “Armistice Day.”
However, in 1954, after World War II and aggression in Korea, the word “Armistice” was replaced by the word “Veterans.” This new legislation was approved on June 1, 1954, and November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Why Is This Holiday Celebrated On November 11th?
World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, months earlier, the Armistice with Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Thus, November 11, 1918 is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
But the celebration date hasn’t always remained on 11/11. In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday of October. This change didn’t last long and in 1978 it was moved back to its original date of November 11th.
Is It Veterans Day or Veteran’s Day (or Veterans’ Day)?
You may find all three spellings online and in calendars, but according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Web site, the official spelling does not have an apostrophe. Their reasoning behind that and not the possessive case is, “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”
Photo credit: Wikipedia