The Meaning Behind Veterans Day

Photo from The Balance's writer, Stacy Fisher

Photo from The Balance's writer, Stacy Fisher

Nicole O. '20, Writer

        Veterans Day is a national holiday is the US that commonly gets mixed up with Memorial Day, another national holiday in the US. Memorial Day commemorates people who died while in the military and fighting for our country. On the other hand, Veterans Day is dedicated to any and all veterans who have been in any military brand and have fought on our country’s behalf.

        In the beginning, Veterans Day was actually called Armistice Day and had a different, yet similar meaning. Armistice Day was a holiday that recognized the end of World War I and all of the people who fought in it. After World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day so the holiday would give attention to all veterans, not just a select group of them.

        November 11th is the date for Veterans Day because when it was originally Armistice Day and had a different meaning, that specific date was the day World War I ended. But, once Veterans day was moved to the fourth Monday of October due to the Uniforms Bill that ensured that federal employees were given three day weekends on Veterans Day, along with Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day. Many states did not agree with this so they still celebrated it on the original date, November 11th. President Gerald R. Ford ended up signing a law that moved Veterans Day back to the original date.

        Legally, if Nov. 11 falls on a Sunday, the holiday is observed by the federal government on that upcoming Monday and if it falls on a Saturday, then it’s observed the Friday before. Federal government closings get established by the US Office of Personnel Management, state and local government’s closings get determined locally, and non-government businesses can close or remain open, regardless of what the state, local, or federal government says.

        On August 2001, the United States Senate Resolution 143 designated the week of November 11th to the 17th as National Veterans Awareness Week. This resolution was made for educational efforts. They wanted grade schools and high schools to teach the students about Veterans Day, veterans, and anything that relates to those topics.