By JASON JACOBS, Times Staff Reporter
Veterans Day is a celebration of honoring all those who served this country through military service, and this Nov. 11, organizations around the country and here in Clay County will be honoring them.
Originally called Armistice Day, Nov. 11 commemorates the end of World War I in 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
President Woodrow Wilson announced the commemoration of that day the following year, and in 1926 Congress passed a resolution officially recognizing the end of World War I.
The original concept for the celebration was to have a day observed with parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.
In 1938, an act was passed, making Nov. 11 a legal holiday. Then Armistice Day would be changed to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954, to recognize and honor the American veterans of all wars.
The Uniforms Holiday Bill, passed in 1968, intended to have four holidays, including Veterans Day, celebrated on a Monday.
The thought with the bill would create extended weekends, which would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. However, many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
This made it quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of American citizens.
On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Public law 94-97, returning the official observance of Veterans Day back to Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.
Veterans Day continues to be celebrated on Nov. 11, regardless of the day of the week it falls on.
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs web site, "The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good."
Currently, there are more than 17 million living war veterans and nearly 24 million veterans overall, including peacetime.
To learn more about Veterans Day or about veterans in general, visit the Veterans Affairs site at www.va.gov, or contact the Clay County Veterans Office at 448-9015.