Major hostilities of World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.
On the first Armistice day one year later, in his message, President Woodrow Wilson addressed his countrymen and said, “…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, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”
Congress adopted a resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional At (52 Stat. 351, 5 U.S. Code § 87a), approved on May 13, 1938, made November 11th a legal holiday, “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’”
In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks wanted to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in WWI. He led a delegation to General Dwight Eisenhower who supported the idea. Weeks led the 1st national celebration in 1947in Alabama and every year until his death in 1985. President Ronald Reagan honored him at the White House and gave him the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday.
Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks to be the “Father of Veterans Day.”
Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans” and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since.
It’s often misspelled as “Veterans’ Day” or “Veteran’s Day”. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states on their website that the no apostrophe case, not the possessive case, is the official spelling “because it’s not a day that ‘belongs” to veterans, rather a day for honoring all veterans.”