Veterans Day, originally Armistice Day, initially celebrated the end of the first world war. The fields in Europe where the war was fought were full of wild red poppies and for many years, red poppies were the symbol of World War I.

2014 VetsDay

Fighting ended between the Allies and Germany at 11 AM on 11/11 — November 11, 1918. This is accepted almost universally as the end of “the war to end all wars.” Sadly, this barely interrupted the progression of war — and the holiday was known as Armistice Day.

After the police action in Korea concluded in 1954, “Veterans” was substituted for “Armistice.” The holiday became Veterans Day and honors veterans of all the wars we have ever fought. Which are a lot of wars and a great many veterans.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed amid considerable confusion on October 25, 1971. On September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford returned Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, starting 1978.

From the Veterans Administration:

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

All honor to all our veterans, of all the wars we have throughout the years and around the world. Let’s hope in future years, we will have fewer battles to fight.


  1. Pingback: THE STORY OF VETERANS DAY | SERENDIPITY | A Call to Witness

  2. We called it armistice day in England. I have my red poppy and wear it at this time. The custom is not known in Switzerland. I was once returning from visiting my dad in London. As i left the Swiss plane in Zürich the air hostess asked me why in was wearing a poppy and so many English people wear it.


    • The red poppy is international. I think every country that fought in the war — including Australia and New Zealand — use the red poppy as a symbol of that war. Apparently the fields of Belgium were filled with red poppies. If you ever get a chance to see a British movie — from 1967 — called “Oh, What a Lovely War,” those poppies show up everywhere. The veteran’s associations in the states give them out on this date — and tomorrow, which is the actual date and will be the 99th year since the war ended. I’m assuming that next year, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, they are going to do something in memory of it.

      It doesn’t seem to me we’ve done much to stop war. Seems to me, we’re still having the same wars we had then … and in the same places, too.

      I suppose Switzerland doesn’t commemorate the war because they did not fight.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh What a Lovely War was originally a show at the Theatre Worksop in Stratford, London, also in the East End of London where I was born, so I knew it well. The film was made later.


        • It is absolutely BRILLIANT. I saw it when it opened here in 1967 and I have loved it ever since. It is (in my stupid opinion), the best movie ever made about WW I. I know it was a big hit on stage in London and I used to have the LP back when I had records. It took forever to get a DVD copy of it. I think we’ll watch it tomorrow. it’s the 11th tomorrow — the right day.


  3. Thank you, Marilyn, for your great post, reminding us of the origin of this day. I am glad that you did it because I was planning to write about November 11, which was the only real patriotic day in France when I was growing up. Then I posted last night about writing Middle Grade novels and thought that it would be too much for my followers to have another post of mine. Yours is excellent and Veterans should always be remembered as people who fight for our beloved right to peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for the brief history of Veterans Day. I think I was too young to remember that, before it was named Veterans Day it was called Armistice Day, but I do remember when people referred to what is now Memorial Day as Decoration Day, a day originally created to honor the Civil War dead, but, just as Armistice Day became Veterans Day to honor the war veterans of not just World War I, Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day to honor those who died in combat in all of America’s wars.


    • I’m just old enough to remember the change … and Garry remembers both Armistice and Decoration Day. I remember the veterans organizations raising money and when you gave them a donation, they gave you a red poppy. It wasn’t until I saw “Oh What A Lovely War” for the first time that I got the connection. These days, no one much remembers the fields of poppies in France and Belgium. I wonder if they still grow on the WW I and II cemeteries.

      Liked by 2 people

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