Off the Grid has explored the many memorials in the Village dedicated to those who died in wars over the years for both Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Of course Veterans Day is a day of remembrance AND thanks, as it honors all those who have served in the military, wartime or peace. For many in New York, the Veterans Day parade is the most visible symbol of recognizing our service members. What you may not know is that Veterans Day has its roots in an earlier holiday, Armistice Day.
Following World War I in 1919, President Wilson declared November 11 Armistice Day to commemorate the end of hostilities. The armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was not until 1938 that Congress declared Armistice Day a federal holiday.
World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Unfortunately, that was not the case. In 1954, following World War II and the conflict in Korea, Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” The change was heartily supported by veterans service organizations.
But in 1968, the Uniform Holiday Bill, intended to provide three-day weekends for Federal employees, moved Veterans Day so that is would always take place on a Monday. Many states and veterans organizations were not pleased with the move and many local and state celebrations continued to take place on November 11. In 1975, President Ford signed a new law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. The new law ensured that Veterans Day kept its Armistice Day roots.
Thank you to all our veterans.