Nov. 11 set aside to honor veterans

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2001

In 1919, one year after the 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918, signing of the armistice that ended World War I, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation honoring those whose lives had been sacrificed. He referred to the day as "armistice day."

On June 4, 1926, Congress memorialized Nov. 11 as a day to be "commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations." That resolution called for the display of the U.S. flag on all government buildings on this date and invited Americans to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies.

In 1938, Nov. 11 was officially recognized as Armistice Day, a celebration of World War I veterans who gave their lives for world peace. However, in 1954, after World War II, that day became known as Veterans Day, in honor of all American veterans.

The Uniforms Holiday Bill, signed June 28, 1968, created four national holidays to be celebrated on Mondays -- Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day. Under the new law, the first Veterans Day fell on Oct. 25, 1971. However, many areas of the country continued to celebrate on Nov. 11, and in 1978, President Gerald R. Ford officially returned the celebration to that date.

Canada and Australia observe Nov. 11 as Remembrance Day. In Great Britain, Remembrance Day is observed on the Sunday nearest Nov. 11.

In his 2001 Veterans Day Proclamation, President George W. Bush reported there are some 25 million living veterans who served this country during times of peace and war.

In addition to Veterans Day, Bush urged the observance of Nov. 11 through Nov. 17 as National Veterans Awareness Week.

"Let us honor our veterans, who proved their heroism and love of country time and again, from Yorktown and Gettysburg to Iwo Jima and the Persian Gulf. ... We can never adequately repay them. But we can honor and respect them for their service," Bush wrote.

Many offices closed for holiday Monday

Most city, borough, state and federal offices will be closed Monday in observance of Veterans Day, including the Soldotna and Kenai city halls and city offices, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Building and borough offices, the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Fish and Game, the court offices and all area post offices.

However, area public schools and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Central Office will be open.

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