5 Things You Don't Know About Veterans Day
Each year we honor our veterans on the eleventh day of November. Here are five fun facts most people don't know about this holiday.
It's "Veterans Day" not "Veteran's Day" for a good reason.
The lack of the apostrophe might seem like a semantic choice, but it has a definite and deliberate meaning. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Veterans Day is not a day that belongs to veterans, it is a day for honoring veterans directly in front of us right now.
Veterans Day used to be celebrated on the fourth Monday of October.
In 1968, Congress passed the uniform Monday holiday bill, which stated that Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day would all be celebrated on Mondays. The reason for doing so was to create three-day weekends, which hopefully encouraged travel and other recreational activities that would help stimulate the economy.
However, many states did not agree with the change, particularly for Veterans Day, which holds significant historic and patriotic significance. And so on September 20 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 9497, which returned the enemy observance of Veterans Day to November 11, beginning in 1978.
Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954.
Although today we all know it as Veterans Day. November 11 was originally called "Armistice Day" in recognition of the armistice agreement that ended WWI on November 11, 1918. While WWI was called "the war to end all wars," it failed to do just that. By the early 1950s, millions of Americans had served in WWII in the Korean War. So, in an attempt to be more inclusive and honor this younger generation of veterans service, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day June 1, 1954.
Marines celebrate their service birthday and Veterans Day with a 96-hour liberty.
November 10 marks Marine Corps birthday, an event that is generally celebrated with a traditional ball and a cake cutting ceremony. Since this special day falls the day before for Veterans Day, many Marines celebrate both holidays together with a 96 hour liberty period.
A group once pushed to rename then-Armistice Day as "Mayflower Day."
Following the outbreak of WWII and the revelation that WWI did not end all wars, the idea of commemorating Armistice Day began to fall out of favor with a small group of Americans led by Dr. Francis Carr Stifler of the American Bible Society. The group proposed that Armistice Day be officially replaced with Mayflower Day since the signing of the Mayflower Compact took place on November 11, 1620. They argued that this whole name would be far more appropriate, since the Mayflower Compact was the cornerstone upon which the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights stood. Of course, the group's ideas did not catch on, and Armistice Day eventually became the Veterans Day that we know today.