Honoring Those Who Served
The History of Veterans Day
How did we end up with a Veterans Day holiday? In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson first acknowledged Armistice Day, which was the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. It was made a national holiday on November 11, 1938, commemorating the signing taking place “in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” It was this holiday that gave birth to what we now know as Veterans Day reports Forbes in a recent article.
The change in name came when Alvin King—a small business owner in Emporia, Kansas—lost his nephew, John E. Cooper, in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. This led him to start a movement to rename Armistice Day to Veterans Day and expand recognition to those who served beyond World War I. His town’s chamber of commerce supported him, and in 1954 President Eisenhower made Veterans Day official.
So who is a veteran? The most common definition is someone who served on active duty for more than six months while assigned to a regular U.S. armed services unit. However, since Veterans Day was created to honor more of those who served, it can have a broader definition. One anonymous author offers this definition, “A Veteran—whether active duty, retired, National Guard or Reserve—is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a check made payable on demand to The United States of America, for an amount up to and including their life.”
Not all veterans are getting the honor they deserve; many are homeless and in need. To learn more about veteran homelessness and how rescue missions are helping, read “Veteran Homelessness: The Battle is Just Beginning.”