Veterans Day Timeline

The history of Veterans Day began in 1919, with President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation of Armistice Day, to be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.” In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name of the federal holiday to Veterans Day, acknowledging millions of World War II and Korean War veterans in addition to those of World War I. “On that day,” Eisenhower said, “let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom.” When Congress changed the date of observance to the fourth Monday in October, starting in 1971, state legislatures, veterans groups and the American people urged a return to the original date, and in 1975, President Ford signed legislation authorizing the change. In 1978, the nation’s Veterans Day observance reverted to Nov. 11.