What is the Origin of Veterans Day?

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Veterans Day began as a celebration of the end of World War I. (Image credit: Public domain.)

Veterans day can be traced back to the end of World War I.

The Allied powers a signed a cease-fire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France on Nov. 11, 1918, bringing the great war to a close.

The Armistice (which means a suspension of hostilities by agreement) was celebrated in the streets. As documented by the Library of Congress, Massachusetts shoe laster James Hughes described the scene in Boston: "There was a lot of excitement when we heard about the Armistice … some of them old fellas was walkin' on the streets with open Bibles in their hands. All the shops were shut down. I never seen the people so crazy … confetti was a-flying in all directions … I'll never forget it."

WWI veteran Andrew Johnson recalled arriving home the following spring: "We were given a bonus of $60, an honorable discharge, and the 368th Infantry regiment became a part of history."

Between the wars, Nov. 11 was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After World War II, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both world wars.

Beginning in 1954, the United States designated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.

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