The History and Importance Behind Veterans Day

Sasha Bush

The Greater Ashland Beacon

            Veterans Day gives every American the opportunity to not only celebrate but also honor the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans who have both served and are currently serving our country. Veterans Day is perhaps one of the greatest days we have to celebrate because, without the sacrifice and dedication of those that choose to serve our country, we would not be the great country that we are today. Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States of America once said, “We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty.” Without our veterans, we would not be the greatest country in the world. Many people celebrate Veterans Day without actually knowing its true origins.

            Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally proclaimed a legal United States holiday in 1938, to honor the end of World War I, which occurred Nov. 11, 1918. It wasn’t until 1954, after having been through both World War I and the Korean War that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the 83rd United States Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and replacing it with the word “Veterans.”

 The approval of this new legislation took place June 1, 1954, and thereafter Nov. 11 became a day to remember and honor all American veterans of all branches of the military.

            Things you may not know about Veterans Day is that we write the word “Veterans” without the use of an apostrophe for a good reason. The lack of use of this punctuation mark has a deliberate and definite meaning. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, “Veterans Day is not a day that belongs to veterans, it is a day for honoring veterans directly in front of us now.” Another interesting fact surrounding Veterans Day is that the United States Marine Corps celebrates its service birthday and Veterans Day with a 96-hour liberty. November 10 marks the United States Marine Corps birthday, which is typically an event that is celebrated with a traditional ball and cake-cutting ceremony. Because these two momentous days fall so closely together, many Marines celebrate both holidays together with what is known as their 96-hour liberty period.

             Did you know that the name Veterans Day was once not accepted by a small group of Americans led by Francis Carr Stifler of the American Bible Society? Stifler’s group had proposed that Veterans Day, formally known as Armistice Day, should be renamed “Mayflower Day” because the signing of the Mayflower Compact took place on Nov. 11, 1620. The group argued that “Mayflower Day” would be a far more appropriate name since the Mayflower Compact was the cornerstone upon which the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights stood.

            Veterans Day is often confused with Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a day of appreciation just like Veterans Day, but the difference is that on Memorial Day we mourn the loss of those who lost their lives in service to this great country by honoring and remembering them on this special day. Veterans Day is a day set aside to say, “THANK YOU!” to the people who have served and are still currently serving. Both days are of equal importance and demand the same amount of respect.


“On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.”- Dan Lipinski



Photo by Sasha Bush

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