With Veterans Day less than a month away, there’s no better time than now to familiarize yourself with this federal holiday. Held annually on November 11, it’s intended to honor our nation’s military veterans. Because of its close proximity to the holidays, though, Veterans Day often goes unnoticed by many Americans. Learn more about this important federal holiday by reading below.
The History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day has origins dating back to Nov. 11, 1919, during which President Woodrow Wilson declared this day Armistice Day. A year prior, on Nov. 11, 1918, World War I officially ended when German forces laid down their weapons. As a result, President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11 as Armistice Day.
“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 nations,” said President Woodrow Wilson.
With that said, it wasn’t until the mid-1900s when Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed that Armistice Day would be known as Veterans Day. Since then, Nov. 11 has been recognized as Veterans Day in the United States. See the full list of flag holidays.
The Purpose of Veterans Day
Veterans Day is a federal holiday that’s intended to honor our nation’s military veterans. By definition, a veteran is anyone who served in one or more branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge. According to a Pew survey, there are over 20 million veterans living in the United States, meaning roughly one in 10 adults served in the U.S. Armed Forces without receiving a dishonorable discharge. Veterans Day is designed to honor these veterans while showing appreciation for everything they’ve done.
How to Celebrate Veterans Day This Year
You might be wondering how you can show your appreciation to our nation’s military veterans on this upcoming federal holiday. If you have an American flag, consider displaying it in front of your home or business. If you see a veteran dressed in uniform on Veterans Day, stop to thank him or her for their service. You can even go one step further by donating to a local veterans nonprofit organization.