As we observe Veterans Day this Friday, November 11, it’s worth a look back to see how this holiday came about and what makes this day so special.

The first Veterans Day was celebrated on November 11, 1919; however it was called Armistice Day. The holiday originated as a way to celebrate the end of the World War I. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day. Veterans Day was no longer a day that exclusively honored WWI Veterans, but instead became a day to remember all of those who have served our country during times of war or peace.

Here are some other Veteran’s Day facts* to help you appreciate the holiday a little more:

  • There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States today.
  • World War I formally ended on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, at the eleventh hour.
  • Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran from Alabama, came up with the idea to honor all veterans on November 11th in 1945.
  • Each year on Veterans Day there is a ceremony held in Arlington National Cemetery to honor all who have served in the armed forces and sacrificed for their country.
  • On November 11, 1921, an American soldier was buried at Arlington Cemetery. His identity was unknown and as such, his gravesite is called the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On November 11th, a wreath is laid on his grave by the president or by another high-ranking member of the government.
  • Veterans Day is both a state and federal holiday.
  • Disney made films during World War II for each branch of government.
  • There are about 1.6 million female veterans today.
  • Between 1971 and 1977, Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October. It was changed back to its original date on November 11, 1978 due to President Gerald R. Ford’s signing of Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479).
  • The word “veteran” comes from the nomenclature of the old English language, meaning “old, experienced soldier.”

I am privileged to manage Day Air’s full-service branch at the Dayton VA Medical Center, where we are able to serve our nation’s heroes and their families every day.

For your convenience, here is a link to 2016 Veterans Day free meals, discounts, sales and deals.

Thank you for your service!

Holli Hauer ǀ VA Medical Center Branch Manager

*Sources: History.com and Softschools.com