When They Moved Veterans Day (Then Moved It Back Again)

WWISoldiersToday is a public holiday in the United States called Veterans Day. A veteran is someone who was once in his or her country’s military (army, navy, etc.). Today is also a day of remembrance in many countries, since it is the anniversary of the end of World War I, what was once called the “war to end all wars” (sadly, of course, it didn’t).

But for a short period in American history, Americans didn’t celebrate this day on November 11th. Here’s the story why.

World War I officially (formally; legally) ended on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting actually ceased (stopped) seven months earlier when an armistice (temporary cessation (end) of hostilities (fighting)) between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect (began) on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – that is, at 11:00 AM on November 11, 1918.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed (officially announced; determined that) November 11 as the first commemoration (remembrance; celebration) of Armistice Day. Yet it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later, in 1938, that the 11th of November was made a federal (national) holiday.

At first, November 11th was a day to honor veterans of World War I. But in 1954, after World War II,  “Armistice Day” was changed to “Veterans Day” to remember all of those who served in the the United States military, both during war and in peacetime (when a country is not involved in a war).

For a few years during the 1970s, however, Veterans Day was not celebrated on November 11th. That’s because the federal government changed the law in the late 1960s to “move” certain holidays from the dates they were traditionally celebrated to a Monday, in order to create a “three-day weekend” for government workers and others who had the day off (didn’t have to work). The other holidays moved were Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day.

Many people, including millions of veterans, didn’t like the fact that the government decided to move Veterans Day, since it is so obviously connected to the date of November 11th. So another law was passed a few years later that changed Veterans Day back to its original date, and that’s the date we use today.  

The other holidays that were moved by the 1960s law, however, are still celebrated on a Monday, even though two of them are also connected to specific historical events: Washington was born on February 22nd, which is only occasionally the third Monday in February, the day we celebrate it now; and Columbus Day is in honor of the day Columbus arrived in the “New World,” October 12th, which does not normally fall on (take place on the calendar) the second Monday of October. It seems Americans prefer their three-day weekends over historical accuracy in these cases.

Is this day celebrated in your country in honor of veterans? If not, do you have another day that you celebrate those who served your country in the military? Have certain public holidays connected to specific dates been “moved” to create three-day weekends?


P.S. I’ve adapted (taken and changed) part of this brief history from a U.S. government website.

Image credit: Officers of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I (Wikipedia)


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11 Responses to When They Moved Veterans Day (Then Moved It Back Again)

  1. Dan says:

    Knock Knock can I get in?

    Hey Hi!

    In Italy is not a holiday but it gets celebrated/remembered by a ceremony that takes place November 4th.
    Usually the mayor and the priest lay down some flowers on a monument dedicated to the fallen. I believe Italy lost 700.000 soldiers and same number of civilians in that war, give or take.

    To my knowledge, here, no holiday has been moved. But, you know, sometimes I am not 100% positive of what I am writing. That is why I wish there were others from my own country to validate my info.

    Well, thank you Jeff for working on a holiday and enjoy it. I appreciate that.


  2. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    I think to myself why war? Who gets the profit of it? Do men come to this world with the instinct to kill each other? Like any animal? Why?

  3. peter says:

    Hi Jeff
    Thanks for the post
    Perfect timing
    Ur post touched me

    We do the same like other common wealth nations but It is a federal holiday here.
    I mean government buildings are closed and all fly Canadian flags.
    But Privet companies are open in full-fledged.

    No rest for the weary 🙂

    I usually take the day off and go to Ottawa to be a part of the observance.
    But this year around I couldn’t gather the nerve to go up to my manager and ask for a day off. U know ,between you and me , Her serious looks always scare me.

    U know , we fell behind on a very important work project which is due this coming Monday. We r working round the clock on it.
    No judging please. We didn’t slack off. The project is an immense one:)

    Well,where was I ?

    In Canada
    We call it “Remembrance Day. ”

    I don’t know about The U.S. ,but we wear a pin as our way of paying homage to the soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty those years ago.

    U know veterans and mostly high school students , mostly in senior year , starting to sell remembrance poopies a good 10 days before “Remembrance Day.” The pin is an small ornate red flower that people wear on their outfits : jackets , parkas,coats ,and whatnot
    In fact I m wearing it right know on my jacket. This is the last day I m wearing it.
    Google it u can see some images of it must be over the Internet. After all, It is the world’s most popular pin:)))))
    Why red color ?
    Well , the red color is a symbol for the bloodshed in the war.

    Well , the reason they are sold 10 days prior to the event is some people starting to wear them well ahead of Nov 11th.

    Remembrance poppy has become the symbol of Remembrance Day: an emblem that got its origin from a poem people associate with Remembrance Day.The poem is called ” In Flanders Field”
    I know it by heart.it is a very famous poem around here.

    In fact reading or reciting the poem has become an inherent part of the ceremonial events held on Nov 11th across the country. The most popular one though is the government ceremonial event in Ottawa ,the capital of Canada.”

    It is indeed a solemn ceremony.
    Politicians,government officials , and people gather in front of the Capitol building “parliament ” in Ottawa to observe Remembrance Day.

    U know , in a way it is not a happy event.
    It is as the title suggests is a day to remember , to reflect.
    If anything , it is a somber day but in a good way.

    Some, including me , take it seriously around here.
    They wear their nicest clothes to the ceremony. And u don’t hear a peep out of the crowd when the ceremony is underway.

    Every year two minutes of silence is announced right at 11 Am across the country.

    “U know even libraries are open on Nov 11th ,here.”

    Sorry ,I was thinking out loud 🙂

    Back to the topic at hand

    U know ,I always make a pint of going to the capital to be a part of it.

    Well, Unfortunately due to the work load dumped on my lap by my beloved boss, I wasn’t able to make it to the ceremony this year.
    You know ,
    We usually make a day of it.My friends and I usually drive up there. Well,we car pool.
    It is a good 6 hour drive.
    We drive off early in the morning at the break of dawn.
    We spend the entire day in the capital
    We usually go to the French part of the city with more historical city structure than the English part that reminds me of home sweet home : Toronto. 🙂

    I like the French part of the city better even though I can’t speak a word of French. I am telling you ,I know zilch :nothing
    Not even a word.
    But, one friend of mine ,who happens to be polyglot ,speaks prefect French.

    We always take him along not because he is fun to be around, or a good companionship but because he saves us a lot of trouble understanding the locals.:))))

    He listens to Jeff too but has no guts to write a thing or two here.u know amongst my friends I m the brave one:)))))

    I m telling u ,Jeff is a household name around here.even my mom -a 68 year old housewife- knows him. :)))

    It is a shame that I missed the event this year.
    You know the talk is there are some privet functions being held on Nov 11 th as well. Well ,if it is the case I have never invited to one.
    What gives ? :)))

    Well life is full of small disappointments. Life is full of twists and turns.this one was one of its turns that I got stuck at work.:)))
    Well , What makes life sweet is “the unknown ” right ?

    I know u r sick of me already:)
    No sweat.
    I shall take my leave


    Thanks for the thoughtful post chief

  4. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Hello, Pete. Long comment huh. Awesome.

  5. peter says:

    Sorry Aecio,
    It is longwinded, indeed.
    I was in the moment. I was in the zone

    Jeff’s post is very sentimental


  6. peter says:

    U know
    The governor here in Canada did the same
    The government moved all the stature holidays to Monday. It is a nice move on government part.
    Every month we get one long weekend.
    Well ,some people work on bank holidays. I mean long weekends.
    But government employees get The extra day off.


  7. peter says:

    Do u remember a while back Jeff told us to do a lot of reading. He said that we needed to find some books that interests us and read away.
    Well, as that I m a true believer of Jeff and his methods. I took his advice the minute it came out of his mouth.
    I took up a book that I like and well : read away.
    I have never put down books since.
    Well , as experience has it:)), along the way I picked up a new method ,a method of my choosing if you will ,:) that I think beats Jeff’s method.
    Sorry chief. Just Bear with me for a sec :)))
    Don’t get me wrong please and don’t gather a posse and come after me with your pitchforks and torches.it is not blasphemy :))))))
    The Essenes is still the same I just add one tweak or two. U know ,a little touch of mine. 🙂
    Tweak it a bit.

    Here comes my two cents
    U know ,I realized along the way I get the most out of the practice when I read say one or two chapters of a book ,depending the length of the chapters, that I like and that is discernible to me , as Jeff strongly recommended it.
    i stop once chapters are done and back track to the beginning of the chapters I just read.
    But ,bear with me a bit
    Here we go :
    this time around I put on the audio version of the book and follow along the narrater as he /she reads out the two chapters for me.
    I have been using this little method of mine for a while now.and ,I m telling you folks , it works.
    At least for me ,it is a very efficient method.

    Well , it is just me
    U may see it differently
    I like to share it with my dear cyber peers.

    My improvement has been palpable ever since I took your advice Jeff.
    Thanks for the input and more importantly thanks for your insight chief.

    Do u ever steer me wrong ? :))

    Lucy u must hate my guts that I keep stealing words and expressions from your Scripts and never cited you or what episode I got then from.
    Well , most places I know polygenism is frown upon ,but lucky for me that I m lurking around a land that knowledge is being given for free, a land these days you kids call ESLPOD.


  8. peter says:

    I watched the latest James Bond movie. I must say ,it was not what it is cracked up to be.
    In all fairness , I have always had a hard time with British accent.
    Some actors in James bond movies have Distinctly clear British accent.
    So, I miss out on a lot of details first round I watch them.
    But ,i m usually cauch up the second round.
    I watch then three times though.
    In case u r wondering, the third time is to watch the movie rather than focuse on the dialogs.


  9. peter says:

    I just wanna take a moment here and extended my deepest condolences and sympathies to the people of France.

    It was indeed the most outrageous act against values and lives of people in of one of the most peaceful places in Europe ,the city of poem and love : Paris

    It was a deplorable ,inhumane attempt that killed approximately 127 people in cold blood.

    I hope the people responsible for such atrocity will be brought to justice and be responsive for their heinous crime

    My dear Parisians you have my thoughts with you in this tragic time.
    My heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones in this ruthless inhumane crime.


  10. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    I see you are mentioning the accident in Paris, but did you know that there was a serious enviromental accident in Brazil, in which a dam cracked and let a great amount of mud with iron dust go down on a river and walked for 500 km away? Natural life was affected, people burried under the mud, people without water to drink? Of course I mind about the terrorist atack in Paris but I live in Brazil my country of my heart. I am sorry about all that.

  11. emiliano says:

    All my solidarity with the French people and specially with the Parisians who are going through so bad days.
    Some how it is the same that people from N.York, London or Madrid sufered some years ago, so yes I feel
    myself like a parisian or a french.
    My condelences to the persons that have lost a son, daughter, friend or relative.

    Yes, I am really very sad as living in Madrid I can know what Parisians are feeling now.


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