Historical Highlights

The Veterans Day (Armistice Day) Holiday

November 11, 1978
The Veterans Day (Armistice Day) Holiday Image courtesy of Library of Congress Members of the military parade past the Capitol in this 1939 image.
On this date, the nation returned to celebrating Veterans Day (Armistice Day) on November 11. On November 11, 1918, hostilities for what was then regarded as the war to end all wars, the First World War, ceased. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution requesting and authorizing the President to honor the anniversary of the great armistice. After many failed legislative attempts to create the holiday, Congress finally established Armistice Day as a federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, the holiday was renamed “Veterans Day,” expanding its scope to include veterans of all U.S. wars. Twelve years later, Congress once again altered the holiday, passing the “Uniform Holiday Act” (Public Law 90-6) which moved the observation of the historic anniversary to the fourth Monday in October. Moving the solemn day angered veterans’ groups and 46 states refused to comply with the federal holiday change. Congress reconsidered. In 1975, under the leadership of Patricia Schroeder of Colorado, the chairwoman of the Post Office and Civil Service Subcommittee on Census and Statistics, the House passed a bill returning the holiday to its traditional day of observation, November 11. Representative Dominick Daniels of New Jersey endorsed the bill stating, “I believe there is still room for tradition in this society, even as we race forward toward the 21st century. A tradition we must keep alive is the setting aside of a single day each year to honor the veterans of this Nation. And this day should remain the same, and should not be changed around to suit some arbitrary holiday schedule.” The bill passed the House 410 to 6 and went into effect starting in 1978.

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