KENTUCKY (11/11/13) — First known as “Armistice Day” in 1918, a temporary interruption of hostilities between allied nations and Germany was implemented on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
However, it wasn’t until the aftermath of WWII and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day and was dedicated to all American veterans from all wars.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day with the following words:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
In 1921, Congress passed legislation approving a tomb of an unknown soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Congress then declared Nov. 11 would become a legal federal holiday to honor all those who participated in the Great War (WWI).
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, most states established Nov. 11 as a legal holiday on a federal level, an annual proclamation that was issued by the president.
In 1938, Congress passed legislation on May 13, making Nov. 11 a legal federal holiday, Armistice Day.
On June 1, 1954, after both WWII and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 by taking out the word “Armistice” and replacing it with “Veterans,” making Nov. 11 the day to honor all American veterans of every war.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured federal employees a three-day weekend for four national holidays on a Monday. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to October leaving many Americans confused and disagreeable with the change.
Finally in 1975, Pres. Gerald R. Ford signed a law to return the annual observance back to its original date of Nov. 11 that began in 1978. That date has remained since.
Locally, veterans, families and those wanting to show their respects visited areas like the Veterans' Memorial on Main Street in Madisonville. Others took advantage of a free dinner at restaurants like Applebee's in Madisonville and Golden Corral in Henderson.
Photos by Amber Averitt
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