World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” — offi­cial­ly end­ed when the Treaty of Ver­sailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Ver­sailles out­side the town of Ver­sailles, France. How­ev­er, fight­ing ceased sev­en months ear­li­er when an armistice, or tem­po­rary ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties, between the Allied nations and Ger­many went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that rea­son, Novem­ber 11, 1918, is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In Novem­ber 1919, Pres­i­dent Wil­son pro­claimed Novem­ber 11 as the first com­mem­o­ra­tion of Armistice Day.  The orig­i­nal con­cept for the cel­e­bra­tion was for a day observed with parades and pub­lic meet­ings and a brief sus­pen­sion of busi­ness begin­ning at 11:00 a.m.
The Uni­form Hol­i­day Bill was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intend­ed to ensure three-day week­ends for Fed­er­al employ­ees by cel­e­brat­ing four nation­al hol­i­days on Mon­days: Washington’s Birth­day, Memo­r­i­al Day, Vet­er­ans Day, and Colum­bus Day. It was thought that these extend­ed week­ends would encour­age trav­el, recre­ation­al and cul­tur­al activ­i­ties and stim­u­late greater indus­tri­al and com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion. Many states did not agree with this deci­sion and con­tin­ued to cel­e­brate the hol­i­days on their orig­i­nal dates.

The first Vet­er­ans Day under the new law was observed with much con­fu­sion on Octo­ber 25, 1971. It was quite appar­ent that the com­mem­o­ra­tion of this day was a mat­ter of his­toric and patri­ot­ic sig­nif­i­cance to a great num­ber of our cit­i­zens, and so on Sep­tem­ber 20th, 1975, Pres­i­dent Ger­ald R. Ford signed Pub­lic Law 94–97 which returned the annu­al obser­vance of Vet­er­ans Day to its orig­i­nal date of Novem­ber 11, begin­ning in 1978. This action sup­port­ed the desires of the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of state leg­is­la­tures, all major vet­er­ans ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions and the Amer­i­can peo­ple.
Vet­er­ans Day con­tin­ues to be observed on Novem­ber 11, regard­less of what day of the week on which it falls. 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.