Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

The Wall, Photo by Jake Putnam, Vietnam Memorial Washington, DC.

U.S. President Woodrow first declared an Armistice Day back on November 12, 1919. The United States Congress passed a resolution seven years later requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act approved in 1938, made the 11th of November in each year 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, a Kansas shoe store owner named Al King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in WWI. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during WWII. 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 in 1954. Congress amended this act later that year, replacing "Armistice" with Veterans, and it has been known as Veterans Day since. Source: Wikipedia

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