Salal Credit Union

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Veterans Day: The History and Meaning Behind the Holiday

Veterans Day is a time to thank and honor all those who served our country in the United States Armed Forces. With Veterans Day coming up next Monday, here are some important and interesting facts about the history and meaning of the holiday.

Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day or are not certain what makes the two holidays different. The Department of Veterans Affairs website notes that “Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.”

Veterans Day, on the other hand, “is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military, in wartime or peacetime. Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served—not only those who died—have sacrificed and done their duty.”

Armistice Day celebrations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November, 11 1918.

Veterans Day Wasn’t Always Called Veterans Day

The holiday that became Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, commemorating the end of fighting in World War I. Though the Treaty of Versailles wasn’t signed until June 28, 1919, fighting effectively ended when the Allies and Germany agreed to an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month: November 11, 1918. In 1926, Congress officially recognized this date as the end of the war, and in 1938 the day became an official holiday, primarily honoring veterans of World War I.

President Eisenhower signing the proclamation dedicating Nov. 11 as Veterans Day.

The holiday was called Armistice Day until after World War II and the Korean War. On June 1, 1954, with the support of veterans organizations, Congress officially expanded the holiday to honor all American veterans and changed the name to Veterans Day.

Veterans Day Hasn’t Always Been November 11

In 1968 the Uniform Monday Holiday Act aimed to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays, including Veterans Day. Starting in 1971, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. But many states weren’t happy with this change and continued observing Veterans Day on November 11. By 1975 the new date had become so unpopular that President Gerald Ford signed a law changing Veterans Day back to November 11 starting in 1978.

Veterans Day Parade (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Thank You to Our Veterans

Salal branches will be closed Monday, November 11, in observance of Veterans Day. We are thankful to all those who have served our country in the Armed Forces.

 

 

 

Sources:
https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetday_faq.asp
https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/article/1675470/5-facts-to-know-about-veterans-day/
https://dod.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/1117_veteransday/ [Heading photo]