Veterans Day on November 11th honors military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces. The federal holiday coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which marks the end of World War I.
These observances reflect the end of significant hostilities at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Initially, the United States observed Armistice Day as well. However, it evolved into the current Veterans Day in 1954.
- Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day or Armed Forces Day. Veterans Day celebrates all United States, military veterans.
- Memorial Day is set aside for remembering the men and women who died while serving.
- Armed Forces Day recognizes the men and women who are currently serving in the United States military.
- While it’s grammatically acceptable to write or print the holiday as Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day, the United States government declared that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling.
- U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day on November 11, 1919.
- The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. The resolution requested that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11th with appropriate ceremonies.
- A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November 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’.
- In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, expressed an idea. Weeks proposed to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans who served in the U.S. military. 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.
- 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.
- Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
- Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays — Veterans Day included — would be celebrated on a Monday. Officials hoped it would spur travel and other family activities over a long weekend, which would stimulate the economy.
- There were 19.3 million military veterans in the U.S. in 2014.
- Around 1.6 million veterans are women.
- 11.4 percent were African American.
- 78.9 percent were non-Hispanic white
- 6.1 percent were Hispanic
- 9.4 million were 65 and older
- 1.7 million were younger than 35
- General George Patton, the famous World War II general, was born on November 11th.
- Thirty-five percent of all living veterans served during the Vietnam War.
- 1.1 million World War II veterans. (1941-1945)
- 2.0 million veterans of the Korean War. (1950-1953)
- 62,544 living veterans who served during the Vietnam War and both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
- 7.4 million veterans were in the civilian labor force in 2014 and 7.0 million of them were employed.
- 14.7 million veterans voted in the 2012 presidential election. That’s 70 percent of all veterans, compared with 60.9 percent of non-veterans.