2011 Veterans Day History

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Veterans Day Message from the DoDEA Director
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Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald, DoDEA Director

On November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..." Wilson said.  

Originally the day was going to be observed with parades and public meetings as well as a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 am.  

Years after World War I ended, Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved on May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day."  

Originally Armistice Day was set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but after World War II in 1954 it was amended under the urging of the veterans service organizations. Approval of legislation (Public Law 380) passed June 1, 1954 -- November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. The word "Veterans" replaced "Armistice." Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation"  

The first Veterans Day under the new Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250) was observed on October 25, 1971. It was apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of US citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures; all major veterans service organizations and the American people. 

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus on honoring our veterans. Please join us in celebrating and honoring America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good for all Americans.


Teacher Resources

The Veterans Day Teachers Resource Guide is published in honor of U.S. Veterans by the Veterans Day