By Erin Couch Cincinnati Enquirer

Liz Dufur/CE

So, for many Friday will be the day Americans will honor those who put their lives on the line for their country.

The origins of the Veterans Day federal holiday traces back to World War I. It represents the time when all sides declared a truce, marking the end of warfare at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Here’s what to know about Veterans Day and why we celebrate it.

What is Veterans Day? When did it become a holiday?

The first iteration of Veterans Day came about on Nov. 11, 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson designated it as a day to honor the veterans of World War I, though it was then known as Armistice Day.

It became a legal holiday in 1938. In 1954, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to include those who served in World War II and the Korean War as well. Now all veterans are honored on the day.

The date for Veterans Day moved around in the 1970s, causing much confusion, so in 1975 it returned to the traditional day of Nov. 11 starting in 1978.

What is Armistice Day?

Nov. 11 was designated as Armistice Day in 1919. Its name referenced the armistice, or the truce, that marked the end of warfare on Nov. 11, 1918, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Where was the first Veterans Day celebration?

The first celebration where organizers took the name “National Veterans Day,” where all previous military members were honored, was in 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama. The Veterans Day parade in Birmingham is the country’s oldest.

What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who were killed in warfare or died of wounds they sustained in battle.

Veterans Day is designated a day where Americans are encouraged to honor all people who served honorably in the military.


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