Veterans Day – History and Meaning
The history of Veterans Day goes back to the year 1919. One year before, on November 11, an armistice had been signed by the German Reich and the Western Powers, which effectively ended World War I.
On the first anniversary of that day, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the American people with a proclamation, talking about progress, prosperity and democracy, but also commemorating the men who had fought for these very ideals.
November 11 was first turned into an official holiday in 1926 – and named Armistice Day. Originally planned as a memorial day for World War I veterans, the meaning of Armistice Day underwent a transformation during the century. Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, it was renamed Veterans Day, and in 1954, its meaning was extended to celebrate all former members of the US military who had been discharged under honorable conditions.
Veterans Day is not the only occasion dedicated to America’s troops. Other such holidays include:
In addition, all branches of the US Military have their own holidays, which do not have the same status as Veterans Day, but are accompanied by parades and displays: for example, the Marine Corps’ Birthday on November 10, or Air Force Day on September 18.