Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In 1938, through an act of Congress, November 11th was made a legal holiday.
In 1954, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans.” On June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill, Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250) was signed, ensuring three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on their original dates. With much confusion, the first Veterans Day under the new law was observed on October 25, 1971.
On September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-79 (89 Stat. 479), a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11th, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on November 11th.
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Did you know?
The Government Publishing Office's online bookstore offers a collection of publications produced by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that provides guidance and information to America's veteran armed forces personnel? Check out the site for numerous publications including the "VA Welcome Kit," a guide to help veterans find benefits and services, and "Healthy Living Resource Guide," which commits to “Whole Health” as a philosophy and an approach to delivering healthcare that empowers and equips people to take charge of their health, well-being and live their life to the fullest.