A brief history of Veterans Day

Jonathan Bateman, Staff

On Nov. 11, we celebrate Veterans Day honoring all veterans who served our country during war. But the original name for Veterans Day was “Armistice Day”, which only celebrated the veterans of World War I and the end of that war.

In 1921, an unknown WWI American soldier was found and buried in Arlington National Cemetery, overlooking the Potomac River and Washington, D.C. This burial would mark the formation of Armistice Day.

The day became an official US holiday in 1938. It was celebrated nationally until World War II began in Europe.  After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, America joined the Allied forces.  By the end of the war, 292,000 more Americans alone lost their lives. 

Later, in 1947, a World War II veteran by the name of Raymond Weeks organized the first instance of a National Veterans Day. It was to be celebrated on the same day as Armistice Day, fully replacing it and celebrating all American veterans of war.

In 1954, a bill that was proposed officially changing Armistice Day into Veterans Day. On Memorial Day, 1958, two unidentified soldiers were brought back from overseas. One was killed in World War II, and the other from the Korean War. They were buried r next to the original WWI soldier in Arlington.

 A decade later,  in 1968, Veterans Day was changed to Oct. 4,  then changed back to Nov. 11 in 1978 because the date had more historical value. 

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 there are two minutes of silence recognizing the exact date and hour that WWI officially ended in 1918.