This November 11, the country will celebrate a very important Veterans Day.
Veterans Day, a Century in the Making
Exactly 100 years ago, on November 11, 1919, Americans marked the first anniversary of the end of World War I. A year earlier, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the armistice ending hostilities had taken effect. President Wilson issued a proclamation and many celebrated that day with parades and festivities.
By 1926, a congressional resolution called for a more official observance of this special day on each November 11. “Armistice Day” became an official national holiday in 1938, as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
But after World War II and the Korean War, public support grew for there to be a national Veterans Day holiday to honor all those who served in the United States Armed Forces. Informally, some cities had been celebrating all veterans on the November 11 “Armistice Day” for years.
Historian Ken Zurski notes that Navy veteran Raymond Weeks returned home to Alabama after WWII to organize Birmingham’s first Veterans Day event in 1947. Meanwhile, Al King, an American War Dads participant and shoe store owner from Emporia, Kansas, led his Midwest city’s first Veterans Day celebration in 1953.
Both Weeks and King contacted General and Statesman Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, in his first term as President, officially changed the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954, to honor all American veterans of all wars on the November 11 holiday.
The holiday underwent more changes and between 1968 and 1978, some celebrations were held on the fourth Monday in October. In 1975, President Ford signed a law that returned official observance to the original date of November 11.
Ever since, the service and sacrifice of United States Armed Forces veterans has been recognized on November 11, particularly at local Posts across the country.
Veterans Day and Posts
This year also marks a special anniversary for Post members. It’s been 100 years since the founding of VFW’s National Veterans Service (NVS) Department, which works to ensure veterans are granted the benefits they have earned.
Your members and guests know that Posts help foster camaraderie while serving veterans, the military and the local community. Local Posts also help further the VFW’s mission and vision to ensure that veterans receive their earned entitlements and are respected for their service. It’s an important task, and one you, your Posts and your members should all be proud to be a part of.
This special Veterans Day, we offer our sincere thanks to all Post members for their selfless service as our nation’s defenders and wish everyone a safe and relaxing holiday.