This Friday we once again honor our military veterans with the celebration of a National holiday established some years ago in commemoration of veterans from all areas of military service past and present. Many take part in the celebration, but do not know the facts, trivia and history surrounding this holiday. The following is some amazing information about Veterans Day:
- The holiday was previously called Armistice Day and was renamed Veterans Day 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 honors those who died while in military service.
- Veterans Day was first observed in 1919 but Congress did not make it official until 1938 with the name change in 1954.
- A veteran of World War II, Raymond Weeks from Alabama, wanted to expand the Armistice Day celebration to go beyond honoring those who died and served in WW I. President Eisenhower signed a Congressional bill in 1954 expanding the scope of Armistice Day and a few days later the name was changed to Veterans Day.
- From 1971 to 1977, Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October. In 1978, the holiday was moved to November 11th.
- President Calvin Coolidge, in 1926, adopted a resolution to establish Nov. 11th as the official holiday date, but it was not until the Eisenhower administration that Nov. 11th was the official date for Veterans Day, although the date would move around in October in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. 1978 saw the official date set.
- If Veterans Day falls on a Sat. or Sunday, businesses and government organizations may celebrate on wither the Friday before or the Monday after that weekend.
- Australia and Canada both celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11th to commemorate the veterans of WW I and II. The United Kingdom celebrates Remembrance Day on the Sunday closest to Nov. 11th. France still celebrates Armistice Day.
- Veterans Day is not spelled with an apostrophe before the s so as to not show possession.
- Non-essential federal government offices are closed on Veterans Day, no mail is delivered, most schools are closed and most banks are closed.
- Veterans Day is Nov. 11th and the birthday of the United States Marine Corps is November 10th.
- Roughly 21% of all employers will observe Veterans Day.
- Today, there are roughly 1.6 million female veterans.
- There are estimated to be 19.3 million veterans.
- 35% of all living veterans served during the Vietnam War, roughly 7.0 million Vietnam-era veterans.
- There are roughly 5.5 million Gulf War veterans
- There is an estimated 558,000 WW II veterans still alive today from the over 16 million that served in the Europe and the Pacific campaigns.
- Arlington National Cemetery has a ceremony on Veterans Day every year to honor those who died during times of war. This ceremony is held around the Tomb of the Unknowns at 11 AM with the President of the United States presenting a wreath before the tomb.
- California has more U.S. military veterans than any other state.
- The first use of the word veteran was in 1789 in the English language when referring to a former member of the armed forces or an ex-serviceman.
As a former U.S. Navy Yeoman from the early 70’s I found these facts interesting and I hope you did also. To all those veterans out there, Happy Veterans Day and Thank You for Your Service. To everyone, enjoy the day off, if your place of business is closed. Most of all, thank a veteran if you run into a vet or know someone who is a vet and remember the importance of honoring those that have risked their lives in the service of the United States.