Veterans Day and Memorial Day—Two Federal Holidays Honoring those Who Serve With Honor

The nation’s second federal holiday instituted to honor those serving in the armed forces is Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) proclaimed Armistice Day to be November 11, the date of the cessation of battles between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. In European countries this day has been known as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day or Poppy Day.

Remembering Veterans

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "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 . . . "  An 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." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the more »

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