The United States of America was founded on certain unalienable rights. Since the country’s birth, the great men and women of the armed forces have fought to protect those rights from those that would violate them. Each November, the nation takes a moment to stop and thank those that have worked tirelessly to protect them from threats far and wide.
Not to be confused with Memorial Day, an observance held on the last Monday of the month of May honoring those fallen in combat, Veteran’s Day is an observance for those who have served, both living and passed. The day began with humble origins, a remembrance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that Allied forces and Germany called a ceasefire in 1918, effectively ending World War I. It began with the name Armistice Day. The day continued to be Armistice Day, gaining traction as an annual observance in 1926, then a national holiday in 1938.
In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed by Congress as Veteran’s day, and the observance we now know was born. For most of its time as a national holiday, Veteran’s day has been annually celebrated on November 11th. However, in a bid to give federal workers a few three-day weekends, the Uniform Monday Act passed through Congress in 1968. For the first time in over 50 years, Veteran’s Day was celebrated on a Monday that wasn’t November 11th, specifically the Monday of October 25th, 1971. That didn’t sit well with the American public, since November 11th held a particular significance to the population. President Gerald Ford, in his wisdom, repealed the Act and Veteran’s Day was free to be celebrated and observed on November 11th again, starting in 1978, a decade after the act had been ratified.
Not to be outdone, the rest of the Allied forces hold a day of remembrance falling on November 11th or the closest Sunday.
There are many ways to honor Veterans, be it with a kind word, participating in the annual national moment of silence, or just a gesture of thanks. As a nation indivisible, it is important to remember that all gave some, but some gave all. Take a moment to thank a Veteran.