Veterans Day

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Veterans Day
World War I veteran Joseph Ambrose, 86, at the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982.jpg
U.S. World War I veteran Joseph Ambrose (1896–1988) attends the dedication parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, Clement, who was killed in the Korean War.
Also called Armistice Day
Observed by United States
TypeNational
CelebrationsThe Veterans Day parade
Date November 11
Next time11 November 2020 (2020-11)
Frequencyannual
Related to Remembrance Day

Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces (and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable). [1] [2] It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Federal holidays in the United States

In the United States, a federal holiday is an authorized holiday which has been recognized by the US government. Every year on a U.S. federal holiday, non-essential federal government offices are closed, stock market trading is usually suspended, and every federal employee is paid for the holiday. Private-sector employees required to work on a legal holiday may receive holiday pay in addition to their ordinary wages.

Veteran person who has served in the armed forces

A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field. A military veteran is a person who has served and is no longer serving in armed forces. Military veterans that have served directly in armed conflict in war are further defined as war veterans.

The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.

Contents

Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service. [3] There is another military holiday, Armed Forces Day, a U.S. remembrance that also occurs in May, which honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.

Memorial Day United States federal holiday remembering those who died in military service

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering and honoring the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is now observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day having been observed on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

History

On November 11, 1919, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day, in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

Woodrow Wilson 28th president of the United States

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was an American statesman, lawyer, and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the president of Princeton University and as the 34th governor of New Jersey before winning the 1912 presidential election. As president, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. He also led the United States into World War I in 1917, establishing an activist foreign policy known as "Wilsonianism." He was the leading architect of the League of Nations.

ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN

The White House, November 11, 1919.

A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.

With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.

Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.

To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

WOODROW WILSON [4]

The United States Congress adopted a resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. [4] A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made November 11 in each year a legal holiday: "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'." [5]

Calvin Coolidge 30th president of the United States

Calvin Coolidge was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929. A Republican lawyer from New England, born in Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. The next year, he was elected vice president of the United States, and he succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small government conservative and also as a man who said very little and had a rather dry sense of humor.

Veterans Day parade in Baltimore, Maryland, 2016 Veterans Day parade in Baltimore, 2016.jpg
Veterans Day parade in Baltimore, Maryland, 2016

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the "Father of Veterans Day." [6]

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Birmingham, Alabama Most populous city in Alabama, United States

Birmingham is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2018 population of 209,880, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2018, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,151,801, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.

U.S. representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954. It had been eight and a half years since Weeks held his first Armistice Day celebration for all veterans. [7]

Edward Herbert Rees American politician

Edward Herbert Rees was a U.S. Representative from Kansas.

Emporia, Kansas City and County seat in Kansas, United States

Emporia is a city in and the county seat of Lyon County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 24,916. Emporia lies between Topeka and Wichita at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 with Interstates 335 and 35 on the Kansas Turnpike. Emporia is also a college town, home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th president of the United States

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful Invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day since. [8] [9]

The National Veterans Award was also created in 1954. Congressman Rees of Kansas received the first National Veterans Award in Birmingham, Alabama, for his support offering legislation to make Veterans Day a federal holiday.[ citation needed ]

Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October (October 25, 1971; October 23, 1972; October 22, 1973; October 28, 1974; October 27, 1975; October 25, 1976, and October 24, 1977). In 1978, it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11. While the legal holiday remains on November 11, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively.[ citation needed ]

Observance

Poster for Veterans Day 2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I Veterans Day poster 2018.jpg
Poster for Veterans Day 2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I

Because it is a federal holiday, some American workers and many students have Veterans Day off from work or school. When Veterans Day falls on a Saturday then either Saturday or the preceding Friday may be designated as the holiday, whereas if it falls on a Sunday it is typically observed on the following Monday. When it falls on the weekend many private companies offer it as a floating holiday where employee can choose some other day. A Society for Human Resource Management poll in 2010 found that 21 percent of employers planned to observe the holiday in 2011. [10]

Non-essential federal government offices are closed. No mail is delivered. All federal workers are paid for the holiday; those who are required to work on the holiday sometimes receive holiday pay for that day in addition to their wages.[ citation needed ]

Armistice Day

In his Armistice Day address to Congress, Wilson was sensitive to the psychological toll of the lean War years: "Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness," he remarked. [11] As Veterans Day and the birthday of the United States Marine Corps (November 10, 1775) are only one day apart, that branch of the Armed Forces customarily observes both occasions as a 96-hour liberty period.[ citation needed ]

Election Day is a regular working day, while Veterans Day, which typically falls the following week, is a federal holiday. The National Commission on Federal Election Reform called for the holidays to be merged, so citizens can have a day off to vote. They state this as a way to honor voting by exercising democratic rights. [12]

Spelling of Veterans Day

While the holiday is commonly printed as Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day in calendars and advertisements (spellings that are grammatically acceptable), the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website states that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling "because it is not a day that 'belongs' to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans." [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Armistice Day Commemoration on November 11 of the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany in 1918

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France at 5:45 am, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. But, according to Thomas R. Gowenlock, an intelligence officer with the U.S. First Division, shelling from both sides continued for the rest of the day, only ending at nightfall. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days and had to be extended several times. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.

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References

  1. "U.S.C. Title 38 – Veterans' Benefits". www.govinfo.gov. U.S. Government Publishing Office. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  2. "5 Facts to Know About Veterans Day". Defense.gov. U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  3. Kelber, Sarah Kickler (May 28, 2012). "Today is not Veterans Day". Baltimore Sun . Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  4. 1 2 "Supplement to the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Covering the Second Term of Woodrow Wilson, March 4, 1917, to March 4, 1921". Bureau of National Literature. November 11, 2015.
  5. "Veterans Day History". Veteran's Affairs. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  6. Zurski, Ken (November 11, 2016). "Raymond Weeks: The Father of Veterans Day". Unremembered History. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  7. Carter, Julie (November 2003). "Where Veterans Day began". VFW Magazine. Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012.
  8. "History of Veterans Day". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. November 26, 2007. Archived from the original on July 28, 2006. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
  9. "The History of Veterans Day". United States Army Center of Military History (CMH). October 3, 2003. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  10. Society for Human Resource Management (November 4, 2010). "2011 Holiday Schedules SHRM Poll". Archived from the original on December 4, 2010.
  11. Smith, Andrew F. (2007). The Oxford companion to American food and drink. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. p. 290. ISBN   978-0-19-530796-2 . Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  12. Sutter, John D. (November 12, 2012). "Election Day should be a federal holiday". CNN. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  13. Veterans Day Frequently Asked Questions, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Updated July 20, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015.