Each year, Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11, honoring the veterans who fought in the World Wars I and II. The holiday was first celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919 – on the first anniversary of the end of World War I – when it was called “Armistice Day.” It became a national holiday in 1938 – twelve years after Congress passed a resolution making Nov. 11 a day for annual observance. To learn more about the holiday, here are 7 interesting Veterans Day facts:
1. President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.
2. Veterans Day was not always celebrated on Nov. 11. The Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress in 1968, which mandated the holiday be celebrated on the fourth Monday of October, and went into effect in 1971. But taking the historical significance into consideration, President Ford changed the holiday back to Nov. 11 in 1975.
3. The United States was not the only country that took part in the World Wars I and II and as such, is not the only country that celebrates veterans. For example, Canada celebrates Remembrance Day and Britain celebrates Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November.
4. According to 2013 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 23.2 million veterans in the United States. Of them, 9.3 million are over the age of 65 and 1.6 million are women.
5. There are 39,890 veterans of World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War still living.
6. On Nov. 11, 1921, the first unknown soldier was reburied at the Arlington National Cemetery in a tomb inscribed with: “Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.”
7. On May 28, 1984, an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War was reburied in the Arlington National Cemetery. DNA analysis was able to identify the soldier’s identity in 1998. He was 24-year-old pilot Michael Blassie and was shot down on the border of Cambodia in 1972. (Latin Times)
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy