Veterans DayOfficial recognition of the end of the first modern global conflict -- World War I - - was made in a concurrent resolution (44 Stat. 1982) enacted by Congress on June 4, 1926, with these words:
WHEREAS the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most
destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the
resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with
other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
WHEREAS it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should
be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to
perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between
WHEREAS the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already
declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by
the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the President of the
United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to
display the flag of the United States on all Government
buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to
observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with
appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the Nation's history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "Veterans. " With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation " which stated:
"In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this
anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire
citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this
end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as
Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include
such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will
coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the
observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and
agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the
National Committee in every way possible."
The Uniforms Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to insure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays- - Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971.
It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the express will of the overwhelming majority of the State legislatures, all major service organizations and the American people.
The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.