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U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. At the time, he said, “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.”
“Hunger does not breed reform, it breeds madness.” ~President Woodrow Wilson
The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. The resolution requested that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11th with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved 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’.
In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, expressed an idea. Weeks proposed to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans who served in the U.S. military. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Then in 1947, Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama. Annually, the country recognized its veterans until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored him at the White House in 1982. Weeks earned the Presidential Citizenship Medal as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, called Weeks the “Father of Veterans Day.”
U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954.
Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
Originally, the country observed Veterans Day on November 11th. However, starting in 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act required the federal holiday to be moved. Congress scheduled the observance for the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, Congress moved it back to its original celebration on November 11th. While the legal holiday remains on November 11th, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively.
Hats off to all of my fellow vets. God Bless you and hang in there.