Originally called Armistice Day, its the day we commemorate the end of World War I.
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War Iand Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. An American artillery gun from the 11th Field Artillery Regiment named "Calamity Jane" fired a single shot at this time, known as the closing shot of the war. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.
The date is a national holiday in France, and was declared a national holiday in many Allied nations. In some countries Armistice Day coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, and other public holidays. Armistice Day is not celebrated in Germany, but a German national day of mourning, Volkstrauertag, has been observed on the Sunday closest to 16 November since 1952.
World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting ended about seven months before that when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.
But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration yet again by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars.
Veterans Day is not the same as Memorial Day
A lot of Americans get this confused, and we’ll be honest — it can be a little annoying to all of the living veterans out there.
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.
Veterans Day does NOT have an apostrophe.
Some Facts about our Veterans
The military men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and are an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the veteran population of the United States:
16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war.
5.2 million veterans served in peacetime.
2 million veterans are women.
7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
5.5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War.
Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 558,000 are still alive.
2 million veterans served during the Korean War.
6 million veterans served in peacetime.
As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.7 million).
The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.