Veterans Day  originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day honors military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Veterans Day by the numbers:
- 21.5 million—the number of military veterans in the United States in 2011;
- 9.2 million—the number of veterans 65 and older in 2011;
- 1.8 million—the number of veterans younger than 35;
- 3—the number of states with one million or more veterans in 2011 (California, Florida and Texas);
- 9.1 million—the number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2011.
Source: Census Bureau's Facts for Features