Today we celebrate Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, which is an annual United States federal holiday honoring military veterans observed on November 11th. It coincides with other holidays around the world such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the German government signed the Armistice agreement.)
The U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed “Armistice Day” for November 11, 1919. The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that then President Calvin Coolidge issue a proclamation to observe November 11th with appropriate ceremonies.
In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas man named Alvin King the owner of a shoe repair shop, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into “All” Veterans Day. With the help of U.S. Representative Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954 and Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing the word “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since.