Each year on November 11th, we celebrate and honor the service of veterans from all branches of the United States military. Originally known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans, living or deceased, but especially honors living veterans who served their country whether during war or peacetime. Veterans Day can sometimes be confused with Memorial Day, which is a day of remembering our fallen soldiers.
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, one year after the end of World War I when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. World War I was officially over at the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month of the year in 1918. It became a national holiday in 1938, known as a day dedicated to the cause of world peace. The hope was that World War I would be ideally known as “The War to End All Wars”. However, shortly after the holiday became official, World War II broke out in Europe.
When World War II ended, a veteran named Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama wanted to expand Armistice Day to include all veterans, not just those from World War I. Weeks is known as the “Father of Veterans Day”, leading the first celebration of Veterans Day in 1947 in Alabama. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill changing the holiday’s name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. The goal was to remind Americans to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace, as well as celebrate those who are serving or had served their country.
Up until 1971, the holiday was celebrated on November 11th as we know it today. However, in 1971 it was changed to the fourth Monday of October under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This only lasted for 7 years, because in 1978 it was changed back to November 11th due to the significance of the original date. Because it is a federal holiday, if it falls on a weekend day, it will be observed by organizations that would normally close on such a holiday on Friday or Monday.
Other countries also observe a form of Veterans Day. Britain, France, Australia and Canada both celebrate what they call Remembrance Day on or near November 11th.
According to the U.S. Census, there are more than 21.8 million veterans in the United States. According to a report completed by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, over 9.9 million of those veterans are aged 65 or older. The state of Indiana alone has over 206,000 veterans over the age of 65.
The Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis, Inc. will be hosting a day full of events in celebration of Veterans Day this year. The events start at 11 a.m. with a memorial service at the Indiana War Memorial, followed by the Flanner and Buchanan Veterans Day Parade at noon. Later that evening, there will be a reception and dinner at the Primo Banquet Hall and Conference Center.
We are proud that many residents of American Senior Communities locations throughout Indiana are veterans. ASC honors veterans with events throughout the year.
For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.