Veterans Day! Another holiday that means we get off from work and school, right? Well yes but, it’s a lot more than that. Veterans Day is a holiday rich with history that honors and pays respect to every man and woman who has served our country in the military. This Veterans Day, take some time to thank someone who is (or was) in the armed forces and learn a little bit more about the holiday by reading these 5 facts.
- Veterans Day didn’t start as Veterans Day. It was originally called Armistice Day, because it celebrated the Armistice with Germany, which stopped the fighting of World War I. It remained Armistice Day until 1954, when President Eisenhower signed a bill to change the name.
- The first celebration of Armistice Day took place on November 11, 1919 with a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson. It was one year after the Armistice with Germany was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th hour. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for annual observance of the holiday. In 1938, it became an official national holiday.
- On the third celebration of Armistice Day in 1921, the first Unknown Soldier was buried at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. Every year a national ceremony is held at the tomb on Veterans Day. The president traditionally lays a wreath at the tomb, and the color guard executes “Present Arms” to pay tribute to all veterans.
- Who will be honored this year? There are currently around 23 million United States Armed Forces veterans who have served in various conflicts including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and more.
- Canada, Australia and Great Britain all celebrate a version of Veterans Day. Canada and Australia celebrate Remembrance Day to remember and pay tribute to veterans who lost their lives serving their country. Great Britain observes two minutes of silence at 11a.m. to pay tribute to their veterans.
Read 11 more facts about Veterans Day! GO
Sources: CNN, The History Channel, US Department of Veteran Affairs