Older Americans may remember November 11 as Armistice Day. In 1919, November 11 was the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Five years later, a resolution was passed by Congress making this day an annual observance, although it didn’t actually become a national holiday until 1938.

Celebrating All Veterans

This special day of celebration acknowledges the sacrifices of men and women in the armed forces, in service to the United States of America. Memorial Day pays tribute to those service men and women who have died, while Veterans Day honors both the living and the dead. It is a day of thanks for those who have served and are living and those who are currently serving. Men and women from all branches of the Armed Forces are celebrated on this day.

From Armistice Day to Veterans Day

When this holiday was first celebrated it was called Armistice Day. The name remained until 1954. At that time, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name, officially. Armistice Day had been instituted in recognition of the end of WWI. On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, the Allied Nations and Germany stopped fighting, temporarily. This “cessation of hostilities” was the armistice that came to be honored by the institution of a national holiday.

By 1954, WWII, during which all members of the Armed Forces were engaged, had come and gone. The Korean War had also been fought. The veterans service organizations wanted all veterans to be recognized for their service. They urged the 83rd Congress to change the name of the Holiday. As a result, the name was officially changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and on June 1, 1954, it became a day to celebrate living veterans of every war.

Celebrating Veterans Day with Peace

Armistice Day was a day to honor those who had fought in the war and the peace that finally was brought about.

These words were spoken by President Woodrow Wilson in November 1919:

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 the nations…

Though we are at war, may we take time this November 11th to remember days of peace and to thank those who have fought and those who still fight to keep our country safe. May we do our part to bring about peace and healing in the world.

The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., send thoughts of gratitude to our service men and women, both at home and abroad, and the families they’ve left behind. Thank you all for your service to our great country.