November 11 (otherwise known as Veterans Day) has become a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Here is a brief history of how this day came to be.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, a temporary cease fire was declared between the Allied nations and Germany during World War I. Though the way only officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, November 11 remained as the date that publicly marked the end of the Great War.
It wasn’t until 1954, in order to include veterans from World War II and the Korean War, that Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, changing the word “Armistice” and replacing it with “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954.
From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Today in the United States, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, while parades and other celebrations are held around the country, with members of the public pouring out to support the troops and their families, honoring their bravery and sacrifice.
But Veterans Day is not just celebrated in the United States. There are many versions of it around the world, honoring their troops as well. Britain, France, Australia and Canada also honor the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11: Canada has Remembrance Day, Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.
Here is a video showing the history of the national day of honoring members of the armed forces.