1918: The agreement to a temporary cease fire of the First World War, known at that time as “the Great War.” This major event was formalized by the signing of an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
1921: The Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. became the resting place of the first American unknown soldier on November 11th.
1926: A resolution that the “recurring anniversary of November 11, 1918 should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations” was passed by Congress urging the president to issue an annual proclamation to observe Armistice Day.
1938: This day became a legal federal U.S. holiday in 1938, “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’
1954: The 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act, changing the word “Armistice” to Veterans.” Because other wars continued, World War II and the Korean War, this change honors veterans of all wars.
1968: Congress passed The Uniform Holidays Bill, ensuring three-day weekends for federal employees. Veterans’ Day was one of the four holidays affected.
1971: The fourth Monday in October was celebrated instead of November 11th, but it soon became evident that people, and thus states, disapproved of the change of this historic date.
1975: President Gerald R. Ford signed a law changing Veterans’ Day to its original November 11th date beginning in 1978.
Today, we honor our service men and women, living or dead, who served, and still serve, our nation with honor, in peacetime or war. This is a time to tell these brave warriors and defenders, “Thank you for your service. We salute you.”