By: Laurie Button
Circle 119—Home of American Legion Post 119—invites the community to take part in Veterans Day ceremonies at the Estes Park Veterans Monument at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11th. The monument is located adjacent to the Estes Park Visitor Center.
Originally known as “Armistice Day,” the inaugural celebration was held on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1926 Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance, and the day became a national holiday in 1938.
Although today we know it as Veterans Day. November 11th was originally called "Armistice Day" recognizing the sacrifices of soldiers who fought in WW I and the armistice agreement that ended the conflict. While WWI was called "the war to end all wars," it failed to do that and by the early 1950s, millions of Americans had served in WWII and the Korean War. In an attempt to be more inclusive and honor this younger generation of veterans, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in June 1954. Americans were encouraged to celebrate the cause of peace and honor all those who serve the country with their courage, honor, patriotism, and sacrifice.
In 1954, after emerging from both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress—under pressure from veteran service organizations—amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11th became a day to honor American all veterans.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill established three-day weekends for federal employees by setting four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under the legislation, Veterans Day was relocated to the fourth Monday in October. Many states disagreed with the change and continued to celebrate the holiday on the original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with a great deal of confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.
In the end, on Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford in 1978 signed a law which returned observance of Veterans Day to its original Nov. 11th date. He recognized the all-important significance of the original date in our county’s history. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has continued to be observed on Nov. 11th.
Many people find themselves confused about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day honors those who died in service to their country or due to injuries incurred during battle. Deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day but the day is actually set aside to thank and honor living veterans who have served honorably in the military—both in war or peacetime, past or present.
In 1968, Congress passed the uniform Monday holiday bill, which stated that Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day would all be celebrated on Mondays. The reason for doing so was to create three-day weekends, which hopefully encouraged travel and other recreational activities that would help stimulate the economy.
However, many states did not agree with the change, particularly for Veterans Day, which holds significant historic and patriotic significance. And so on September 20 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 9497, which returned the enemy observance of Veterans Day to November 11, beginning in 1978.
Although today we all know it as Veterans Day. November 11 was originally called "Armistice Day" in recognition of the armistice agreement that ended WWI on November 11, 1918. While WWI was called "the war to end all wars," it failed to do just that. By the early 1950s, millions of Americans had served in WWII in the Korean War. So, in an attempt to be more inclusive and honor this younger generation of veterans service, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day June 1, 1954.