This Veterans Day, the Postal Service is proud to honor all of our nation’s veterans and those men and women who continue to serve in the military.
President Woodrow Wilson established the first predecessor to Veterans Day—Armistice Day—in 1919, intending the day be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory.” Set on November 11, Armistice Day originally celebrated the signing of the armistice by Germany and the Allies that ended World War I—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. But it wasn’t until 1938 that Congress passed an act making Armistice Day a federal holiday, set aside to honor veterans of WWI.
In 1954, after World War II—in which the armed forces deployed more than 16 million Americans to fight, 405,000 of which lost their lives—and the Korean War, Congress amended the 1938 act, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. November 11 then became a day to honor veterans of all wars. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation later that same year, stating, “in order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands in the common purpose.” A decorated Army vet himself, Eisenhower understood the importance of recognizing the brave souls who dedicate their lives to protecting our country.
From 1971–1977, Veterans Day was held on the fourth Monday of October instead of November 11, much like the observance of Washington’s and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthdays, in an effort to grant more three-day weekends to Federal employees. After much public backlash, Veterans Day was officially moved back to November 11 in 1978—to the overwhelming support of state governments and veterans’ organizations.
Since 1978, Veterans Day has remained on its rightful day of observance, restoring the focus of the holiday back to remembering those lost in conflict, celebrating victory, and showing a nation’s gratitude to the people who help protect it.
We thank all veterans and military personnel for your brave service to our country and wish you all a happy Veterans Day.