Veterans Day is a day for Americans to honor and thank our veterans. Veterans Day is a day for Americans to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all United States veterans, both male and female. Some Americans do not know the reason we salute our veterans each year on Nov. 11. It is imperative that all Americans know the importance and history of this day so we can honor our servicemen and women properly.
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally a United States holiday to honor the end of World War I which officially concluded on Nov. 11, 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
In legislation passed in 1938, Nov. 11 was dedicated to the cause of world peace and celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” This new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.
In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of veterans’ organizations — amended the Act of 1938 and, with the approval of this legislation, Armistice Day was changed to “Veterans Day.” Therefore, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, the Uniform Holiday Act was enacted. Under this law, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Veterans Day under this new law was observed with much confusion.
On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a new law which returned the observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11. Since 1978, Veterans Day has been observed on Nov. 11.
On Aug. 4, 2001, United States Senate Resolution No. 143 was passed, designating the week of Nov. 11 through Nov. 17 as National Veterans Awareness Week. It calls for educational efforts directed at elementary- and secondary-school students concerning the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans.
Deceased veterans are remembered on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but Nov. 11 is primarily set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military during war time or peace time.
Veterans Day is an occasion to honor those who served America in all wars. Every year, the president of the United States urges all Americans to honor this commitment of our veterans.
Your duty is to take today and honor those who live among us who made that choice to serve. You are responsible for carrying on the history, the stories and the valor.
— John Holman, past chaplain of American Legion Post 35 in Hampton.