Gratitude and honor. That’s how many pay tribute to military personnel on Veterans Day.

Although we are more accustomed to popular celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas, holidays like Veterans Day should never be overlooked.

We can learn how Veterans Day took root in our nation by delving into the history behind it.

Marking the first anniversary of the end of World War I, Veterans Day was first “Armistice Day” on Nov.  11, 1919.

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Veterans Day is a national holiday in honor of soldiers who served in the military. (Source: Creative Commons Attribution/Wikimedia Commons)

Seven years later, Congress passed a resolution to make Nov. 11 an annual observance.

Eventually becoming a national holiday in 1938, this day was set aside each year to acknowledge the soldiers who put their lives on the line.

Although the primary purpose was to pay tribute to the WWI veterans at the time, “Armistice Day” slowly evolved into Veterans Day after a great mobilization of veterans during WWII.

In fact, this mass mobilization of soldiers was so huge that practially everyone in the nation contributed in some way.

Men were drafted into the military. Women were called forth to take on military roles. Even Walt Disney employees took on the duties of making training videos and propaganda for the WWII military.

Being such a significant milestone in history, Congress therefore decided to make this day a national holiday in 1954.

By striking out the word “armistice” and taking on the new “veteran” title, this day was given new meaning as a tradition to honor American veterans of all wars through the decades.

To make sure this holiday was observed, the Uniform Holiday Bill was implemented in 1968 to give three-day weekends for federal holidays. However, this new bill did not go over well with the nation as most of the states continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

When it became clear the celebration of this day was a matter of historic significance to most people, the bill was later removed and Veterans Day was restored to its original date.

Still holding true to this day,  Veterans Day is commemorated on Nov. 11 no matter what day of the week it falls. To celebrate, most states hold parades, public meetings and speeches to give thanks to those veterans from all walks of life.

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day not only remembers those who died in battle, but also acknowledges living soldiers who served either in wartime or peacetime.

Nov. 11 will always be the day to honor those veterans whose willingness to serve brings out the patriotism and love for our country.

In light of this holiday, take a moment to remember these heroes.

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