Updated: Nov 22, 2020
By Shannon McLeish
Every year we get a day off from work or school due to Veterans Day, but do we really know the importance of It? Or why we get the day off?
If you or a loved one has ever served in our nation’s military, you know that Nov. 11 is a national holiday. It is sometimes confused with Memorial Day. Veterans Day honors men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
Although Memorial Day also shows respects to the sacrifices of our country’s service members, it is a much older holiday established in 1868 and celebrated on the last Monday in May. It pays special respect to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, men and women who have died while serving.
Veteran's Day has a different significance. The observance began in 1919 with President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation of Armistice Day, to be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.”
Then in 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name of the federal holiday to Veterans Day, acknowledging millions of World War II and Korean War veterans in addition to those of World War I.
"On that day,” Eisenhower said, “Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom.”
Congress changed the date of observance to the fourth Monday in October, starting in 1971, state legislatures, veterans groups and the American people urged a return to the original date, and in 1975, President Ford signed legislation authorizing the change. In 1978, the nation’s Veterans Day observance reverted to Nov. 11.
Veterans Day was intended to serve as a time that would remind nations to always strive for peaceful relationships. We salute our veterans for their service. They are our relatives, friends, neighbors and co-workers.