VETERANS (ARMISTICE) DAY - A DAY FOR WORLD PEACE, THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Observation of this important day included parades, public gatherings and a brief silent pause in all activities, at 11 a.m.
In 1921, the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the (new) Memorial Amphitheater prompted the U.S. Congress to announce that the day should be held in honor of all those who participated in the war.
Read more here: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/explore/tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier
In 1926, Congress passed a resolution that November 11 would be commemorated with thanksgiving, prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations and that the president should issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of Armistice Day. An act approved in May1938 made November 11th a legal Federal holiday, “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'” In 1954, after lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, the Congress amended the 1938 act, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans” to honor all American veterans, who served in all wars.
In 1968, It was thought that extended weekends would encourage travel, and recreational activities, thus stimulating the economy. These holidays would be on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Aside from the confusion this created, it soon became evident that the actual date of Veterans Day carried great historical and patriotic significance to many Americans. In 1978, a new law was passed, returning Veteran’s Day to its original day of observance of November 11th.
Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate veterans of World War I & II on or near November 11th.
Note: According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day and Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) are often confused. Veterans Day honors all American veterans (peacetime and wartime), while Memorial Day honors American service members who died in service to their country or because of injuries incurred during battle.
Source - U.S Department of Veteran’s Affairs