A Special Day To Honor Them

Newspaper Announcing Armistice | Image by blogspot.com

It comes around every year at the same time and is too often unappreciated. Some have parades others special gatherings. I’m referring to Veterans Day. It’s not just another holiday. It is special because it honors our military veterans who have served the United States Of America in order to protect our freedom. This year Veterans Day is celebrated on Thursday November 11th. Why should this be such an important holiday? To explain it’s importance we need to go back in time to how the holiday began.

Newspaper Announcing Armistice | Image by blogspot.com

It was originally called Armistice Day because an armistice was declared in 1918 ending WWI on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first commemoration Armistice day celebrating with parades, other public gatherings, and even honoring 11:00 am with a short break in business and school activities.

Quoting from history.com “On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that the ‘recurring anniversary of [November 11, 1918] should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.’ and that the president should issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of Armistice Day.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt | Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Armistice Day, November 11, became an official federal holiday on May 13,1938 by and act of Congress signed by President Franklin Roosevelt.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower | Photo by britanica.com

The act was amended and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954 when Armistice Day was officially changed to be called Veterans Day. Veterans’ service organizations lobbied to have the name changed so that it would represent all veterans of war which would include WWII and Korea at the time and now of course includes veterans of all wars since then also.

The evolution of this special day continued into1968 when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which guaranteed a three-day weekend for federal employees. In addition to Veterans Day other holidays were set to be observed on Mondays including Washington’s Birthday (also celebrated in some states as Presidents’ Day), Memorial Day, and Columbus Day. Veterans Day was reset to be held on the 4th Monday in October by the new law in 1971. There was, however, an effort to revert back to the November 11th date for the celebration of Veterans Day.

President Gerald Ford | Photo by britanica.com

President Gerald Ford signed a bill into law in 1975 that would return Veterans Day to November 11th beginning November 11, 1978 with the stipulation that if November 11th falls on a Saturday or Sunday then the government would celebrate the holiday either on the previous Friday or the following Monday and all government offices would be closed on that day.

President Barack Obama Laying Wreath At The Tomb Of The Unknowns | Photo by DVDSHUB-images

Every Veterans Day a wreath is placed, by the President or Vice President, at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in honor of all veterans who gave their life in service to the nation.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Tim Chuey is a Member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and has been Awarded Seals of Approval for television weathercasting from both organizations.

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