Veterans Day, as we know it, has its origins in Armistice Day.
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.”
That was the 1919 acknowledgment by President Wilson on the first anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended WWI “in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”
Congress made Armistice Day a federal holiday on November 11, 1938.
But after World War II, Alvin King, a small business owner in Emporia, Kansas, had a problem with the narrowness of those honored on Armistice Day. Al was so moved by the death of his nephew, John E. Cooper, who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge, that he and the Emporia Chamber of Commerce started a movement to redefine Armistice Day and give it a new name – Veterans Day.