Veterans’ Day

Second Tuesday in November

Honors men and women who have served in the US armed services.

History and Old Observance

On Nov. 11 at 11 AM, 1918 World War I ended.

1919 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during the first WW to ensure a lasting peace. Soldiers who survived marched in parades through their hometowns and veteran officers gave speeches.

1938 Congress voted Armistice Day a federal public holiday.

After WW II it continued to be observed on Nov. 11.

1953 townspeople in Emporia, Kansas, called the holiday Veterans’ Day in gratitude to the veterans in their town.

1954 Congress renamed it to Veterans’ Day, “to honor (all) veterans on the 11th day of Nov. of each year…a day dedicated to world peace.”

1971 President Richard Nixon declared it a federal public holiday on the second Mon. in Nov.

Modern Observance

Most Americans observe a moment of silence at 11 am remembering those who fought for peace.

After the Vietnam War there are fewer military parades and ceremonies.

Today veterans gather i.e. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC to stand quiet vigil at the names of their friends who fell in that war. Special services are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Ceremony, Virginia.

Veterans of military service have organized support groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. On V-Day and Memorial Day, these groups raise funds for their charitable activities by selling paper poppies made by disabled veterans. These red bright wildflowers became a symbol of WW I after a bloody battle in a field of poppies called Flanders Field in Belgium.