November 11 – Veterans Day
“O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath
But opportunity is real, and life is free
Equality is in the air we breathe”
Let America Be America Again.
Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who had been killed in the Korean War.
Veterans Day is an annual American holiday honoring military veterans. Both a federal holidayand a state holiday in all states, it is usually observed on November 11.
It is also celebrated as Armistice Dayor Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing ofthe Armistice.)
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. The 11th of November in each year is a legal holiday; “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”
In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas shoe store owner named Al King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into “All” Veterans Day. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on November 11, 1953, to honor veterans. With the help of then-U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.