World War I, known as “The Great War” officially ended on June 28, 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. However seven months earlier an armistice between the Allies and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Because of this, November 11, 1918 is known as the end of “the war to end all wars”. President Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. In 1926, since 27 states had declared November 11th to be a legal holiday, the United States Congress officially adopted a resolution proclaiming November 11th to be a day that officials display the United States flag on all Government buildings, and invited the people to observe the day with fitting ceremonies. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) passed May 13, 1938, designated November 11th a legal holiday. This holiday would be known as “Armistice Day” and would be set aside to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by taking out the word “Armistice” and replacing it with the word “Veterans”. In 1968 the Uniforms Holiday Bill was signed to insure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays. These holidays were Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. The first Veterans Day celebrated under this new law was very confusing. Because the celebration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance, on September 20th 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the Veterans Day observance to November 11th, its original observance, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the majority of state legislatures, all major veteran organizations and the American people. Veterans Day continues to be celebrated on November 11th, regardless of what day of the week it falls on. The return of the celebration of Veterans Day to November 11th preserves the historical meaning of the date, and helps focus attention on the significance purpose of the day which is to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Laupus Library would like to honor all American veterans who have served and sacrificed for their country.