The Origins of Veterans Day

This year, in conjunction with the WWI and America project and the upcoming 100-year anniversary of America’s entry in WWI, we look at the origins of Veterans Day as a day to commemorate veterans of the Great War. On November 11, 1919, exactly one year after World War I ended, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day by asking Americans to "be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service." November 11 was known as Armistice Day until 1954, when Congressman Edwin K. Rees of Kansas proposed that November 11 honor all veterans, not just those who had served in World War I. The holiday was thereafter known as Veterans Day. 

Explore our new interactive exhibition on World War I and America: