Origin's of the term 'Veteran'
Where does the term "veteran" come from?
Originally, the word veteran meant "a person of long experience" or skill. Derived from the Latin term veteranus, after the American Revolution the word veteran came to be associated specifically with former soldiers of old age who had fought for independence. As time went on, "veteran" was used to describe any former member of the armed forces or a person who had served in the military.
In the mid-19th century, this term was often shortened to the simple phrase "vets." The term came to be used as a way to categorize and honor those who had served and sacrificed through their roles in the military.
A Very Short History of Veteran's Day
World War I, also known as the "Great War" was officially concluded on the 11th hour of the 11th Day of November, at 11 A.M. in 1918. On November 11th of the following year, President Woodrow Wilson declared that day as "Armistice Day" in honor of the peace. (The term armistice means "truce" or the end of wartime hostilities.) This day was marked with public celebrations and a two minute halt to business at 11 AM. In 1921, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated in Arlington Cemetery with a ceremony on November 11th. After this dedication, Armistice Day was adopted in many states and at the federal level as a day to honor veterans. This was made official in 1938 when an act of Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday.
Woodrow Wilson during a procession for the burial of an Unknown Soldier on an Armistice Day, 1921. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day. For several years in the 1970s, Veterans Day was observed in October by many states but in 1978 it was returned to November 11th. Today, Veterans Day is still observed on November 11th as a national holiday to honor all veterans of the United States Armed Forces. (If November 11th falls on a weekend day, the holiday is observed the following Monday.) Throughout the nation, Americans participate in parades, ceremonies, and observances to pay their respects to our servicemen and women, both past and present.