It was June 4, 1926 that Congress first gave official recognition to the end of the first "modern-day" global conflict - World War I. Congress did so with the following words:
" WHEREAS the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
WHEREAS it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
WHEREAS the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the Unites States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples."
This was followed in 1938 with a Congressional Act stating that " the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day".
The original intent of Armistice Day was to honor the veterans of WWI - never expecting another great war so few years later and then again in Korea. It was, therefore, decided by Congress in 1954 that the Act of 1938 be amended by changing the name from "Armistice Day" to Veteran's Day.
With this change the veteran's of WWI, WWII, Korea and all servicemen during times of war and peace would be honored and recognized.
In June 28 1968 the "Uniformed Holiday Bill" was passed into law. The original intent was to insure three-day weekends for federal employees. The bill included four holidays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Columbus Day. This bill was not received with great enthusiasm and many of the states continued celebrating on the original dates.
Accordingly, for a short period beginning in 1971 Veteran's Day was celebrated on the Monday closes to November 11th, not on November 11th itself. In 1975, President Gerald Ford responded to the pleas from the countries many veterans and returned this special day of remembrance to the significant date of November 11th, effective in 1978.
Veteran's Day differs from Memorial Day in that it is a celebration and a day of thanksgiving for all of our veterans, living and dead. It is a day to acknowledge the freedoms and the benefits we take for granted because of the dedication and commitment of these brace men and women.
It is a day to proudly fly the flag proudly. It is a day to take a moment to thank a vet - we all know so many. Let them know we are grateful for what they have done.
It is also a day to say a prayer for the vets of yesterday, the servicemen and women of today and those who will continue to protect our freedoms in the future.
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