“TO HONOR VETERANS OF ALL WARS”
Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, organized a Veterans Day parade for
that city on November 11, 1947, to honor all of America's Veterans for
their loyal service. Later, U.S. Representative Edward H. Rees of Kansas
proposed legislation changing the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day to
honor all who have served in America’s Armed Forces.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November
11th as Veterans Day and called upon Americans everywhere to rededicate
themselves to the cause of peace. He issued a Presidential Order directing
the head of the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans
Affairs, to form a Veterans Day National Committee to organize and oversee
the national observance of Veterans Day. In addition to fulfilling that
mission, the committee oversees the annual production and distribution of
the annual Veterans Day poster and this Teacher Resource Guide.
In 1968, Congress moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October.
However, it became apparent that the November 11th date was historically
significant to a great many Americans. As a result, Congress formally
returned the observance of Veterans Day to its traditional date in 1978.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at
Arlington National Cemetery. At 11 a.m., a color guard, made up of members
from each of the military services, renders honors to America's war dead
during a tradition-rich ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a
bugler sounds “Taps.” The balance of the ceremony, including a "Parade of
Flags" by numerous Veterans service organizations, takes place inside the
Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb.
In addition to planning and coordinating the National Veterans Day
Ceremony, the Veterans Day National Committee supports a number of Veterans
Day Regional Sites. These sites conduct Veterans Day celebrations that
provide excellent examples for other communities to follow. For a listing
of these sites, please visit: www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/regsites.asp