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Letter: A short history of Veterans Day

To the Editor:

Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of ALL U.S. veterans - men and women.

Deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.

We commemorate our veterans on Nov. 11. It is imperative that all Americans know the history of Veterans Day so that we can honor our former service men and women properly.

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set on Nov. 11 to honor the end of the first World War. (As you may know - WWI ended at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, in the year 1918.)

In legislation that was passed in 1938, Nov. 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'"

As such, this new legal holiday honored WWI veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both WWII and the Korean War, the U.S. Congress - at the urging of the veterans service organizations - amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

An attempt was made (1968-71) to move Veterans Day to a more "convenient" date. The "new" date chosen in 1971 met with universal disapproval.

On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.

May God bless all of our Veterans and God Bless America. Thank you.

Tom Quinlan

Maj., USAF (Ret)

New Richmond American

Legion Post #80