The history of Veterans Day here in the United States is closely related to our involvement in World War I.
Our Armistice with Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – “the guns fell silent,” to use the popular quote. The brutal conflict that had raged for four long years had finally ended, although the actual Treaty of Versailles would not be signed until 1919.
November 11th was commemorated as “Armistice Day” for decades, until 1954. Congress struck the word “Armistice” from the day and replaced it with “Veterans” in order to commemorate service in both World War II and Korea.
A final change was the Uniform Holiday Bill of 1968, which gave federal employees four extended weekends: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. This would have moved Veterans Day to October, which was broadly unpopular. President Gerald Ford moved Veterans Day back to its original date– November 11– starting in 1978.
We actually have three holidays in the United States which are dedicated to military service: Veterans Day is intended to commemorate all of America’s veterans. Memorial Day is dedicated to those who have died, and Armed Forces Day is dedicated to those who are actively serving.