On Saturday, 11 November, the US will honour military veterans of the United States Armed Forces for Veterans Day.
Every year, millions of Americans take 11 November off to celebrate soldiers for what used to be called “Armistice Day.” However, this year, the holiday falls over the weekend, meaning businesses will observe it on Friday 10 November and state and federal buildings will be closed.
First enacted by President Woodrow Wilson, Armistice Day was meant to celebrate the Germany and the Allied Nations’ call for a truce to end World War I. The cease-fire took place on 11 November, at exactly 11am, according to the History.com report. In 1926, Congress passed a bill making Armistice Day an annual national holiday.
Years later, Alvin J King from Emporia, Kansas, lobbied to have the name changed to Veterans Day. King did not serve in the US Armed Forces, but his stepson had during World War II. Motivated by his stepson’s death, King garnered the support of local officials and veteran service organisations, who eventually helped him get in front of politicians in Washington DC alongside his wife. In 1954, President Dwight D Eisenhower signed off on the name change, officially instituting 11 November as Veterans Day.
Congress proceeded to pass what is referred to as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, ensuring federal employees would receive three-day weekends to observe key holidays. This meant that Veterans Day would be switched to the fourth Monday in October. Yet, most states continued to honour the day on 11 November.
Recognising the significance of the original date, President Gerald Ford signed a law officially making 11 November Veterans Day, and if the day were to be a Saturday, the Friday before would be taken off, or the Monday after if it were a Sunday.
Though the law recognises specific federal holidays, this does not mean that individuals working for private businesses are required to have work off.
From Veterans Day to Christmas, here are the dates of the 2024 federal holidays.
New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Monday, January 15
Presidents’ Day: Monday, February 19
Memorial Day: Monday, May 27
Juneteenth National Independence Day: Wednesday, June 19
Independence Day: Thursday, July 4
Labor Day: Monday, September 2
Indigenous Peoples’ Day (also observed as Columbus Day): Monday, October 14
Veterans Day: Monday, November 11
Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, November 28
Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25
Other important days to note:
Valentine’s Day: Wednesday, February 14
St Patrick’s Day: Sunday, March 17
Good Friday: Friday, March 29
Easter: Sunday, March 31
Passover: Monday, April 22