Every time November comes around, people get very excited. What is the reason behind all the excitement? That is actually the month of Thanksgiving. All people think about is the stuffing and mashed potatoes that will be made on that day for everyone to eat and make merry. What most of us do not know is that during the same month there is an equally important holiday, Veterans Day. This is a very important day in the United States of America where we honor the people who actually served the military (US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) in times of war or peace. Most people know that Veterans Day falls on November 11th normally, but there are some other historical and fun facts about this day that are unknown to many. Check out the nine awesome historic facts behind Veterans Day.
Initially, Veterans Day was called Armistice Day. In 1954, President Eisenhower changed the name. This particular day was created for the reason of commemorating the truce that was actually signed between Germany and the Allies. What was very special and unique about this agreement was that it was done on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The first Armistice Day was officially acknowledged on the 11th of November 1919.
It is also very important to note that November 11th is a State and Federal holiday. Therefore, it carries the same weight if not more, just like any other Federal holiday.
The original idea behind the celebrations that were supposed to be held during this holiday was parades, public meetings, and business suspension at exactly 11:00AM. This has never changed to this date since parades are held across the country and speeches are given.
Another interesting fact is that between 1971 and 1977, Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in the month of October. The moment General R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97, it was changed back to its original date on November 11th, 1978.
Just in case you spell it Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day, you need to know that you are very mistaken. Veterans Day should not have an apostrophe anywhere.
Raymond Weeks, who was a World War 2 veteran, saw it fair to honor all veterans on the 11th of November and not just the ones who lost their lives in World War I. He led the first Veterans Day parade in Alabama in 1947. Due to this, President Reagan honored him as the “father of Veterans Day”.
Many people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. These two are very different historic holiday celebrations. Memorial Day is remembered simply because of the people who lost their lives providing service to the country, particularly during battle. The Veterans Day on the other hand, is a day meant to acknowledge all those who served the military, whether it was during war or at peacetime.
Statistics from the U.S Census Bureau states that a staggering 23 million veterans live in the United States of America. More than 17 million of the total served during the time of war, while the remaining 6 million served during the time of peace.
On November 11th, 1921, an American soldier was buried in Arlington at the national cemetery. The saddest part was that his identity was unknown of the individual. Up to this date, his gravesite is known as the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. Americans started honoring the Unknown Soldier, something that goes on still to this day. Each and every Veterans Day at exactly 11:00AM, a Color Guard Ceremony is held. It is meant to represent all the branches of the military at the “Tomb of the Unknown soldier” in Arlington, Massachusetts.
I hope you enjoyed reading some of these historic facts. Even if you do not fancy history, you have to acknowledge the fact that this holiday is very important to the United States. Saying “thanks” is something very simple that would take you less than five seconds. Therefore, take your time and make sure you show love and appreciation to all men and women who served your country at one point or another. It is a day that should not be assumed and should be given all the seriousness that it deserves.