Veterans Day

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For other uses, see Veterans Day (disambiguation).
Veterans Day
Veterans day.jpg
Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.
Observed by United States
Type National
Date November 11
Frequency Annual
Related to Armistice Day, Memorial Day, Remembrance Day

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also 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). The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.[1]

Most sources spell Veterans as a simple plural without a possessive apostrophe (Veteran's or Veterans').

History

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said

"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."[2]

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies.[2] 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'."[3]

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."

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.[4]

Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day since.[5][6]

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.

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. 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.

Observance

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. A Society for Human Resource Management poll in 2010 found that 21 percent of employers planned to observe the holiday in 2011.[7]

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.

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. [8] 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.

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 government has declared that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling.[9]

See also

Veterans Day 2013 Poster

References

  1. ^ Kelber, Sarah Kickler (28 May 2012). "Today is not Veterans Day". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  2. ^ a b "The History of Veterans Day". United States Army Center of Military History. 3 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "Veterans Day History". Veteran's Affairs. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ Carter, Julie (November 2003). "Where Veterans Day began". VFW Magazine (Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States). 
  5. ^ "History of Veterans Day". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  6. ^ "The History of Veterans Day". United States Army Center of Military History (CMH). 2003-10-03. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  7. ^ Society for Human Resource Management (November 4, 2010). "2011 Holiday Schedules SHRM Poll". 
  8. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2007). The Oxford companion to American food and drink. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. p. 290. ISBN 0-19-530796-8. Retrieved November 12, 2010. 
  9. ^ Sherry, Kristina (2007-11-09). "Apostrophe sparks Veterans Day conundrum". Columbia Missourian. 

External links