Veteran’s Day Dates…Posted: November 10, 2014
Did you know that for seven years Veterans Day was observed at the end of October?
Forty-three (43) years ago, on October 25, 1971, Veterans Day was first observed on the fourth Monday in October. Since the early 1940s, various groups had lobbied Congress to move public holidays to Monday or Friday—like many European countries did—so that government employees could enjoy
long weekends. They claimed it would promote travel and commerce. Their efforts finally succeeded during the Vietnam War era when Congress created “uniform annual observances” for a majority of federal holidays—shifting them to Mondays.
On June 28, 1968, Public Law 90-363 changed all but four holidays: New Year’s Day, Independence Day (4th of July), Thanksgiving, and
Christmas remained intact. As a result, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October, effective in 1971.
This law created a ripple effect within state governments, as many of them followed the federal government’s lead and changed Veterans Day for state purposes, as well. However, not all states changed their holidays–which caused confusion. New York honored the original November
11th observance, so in 1974, some offices were closed on October 29th (for the federal observance) while others closed on November 11th (for the state observance). By 1974, barely three years after the law took effect, nearly 40 states had restored Veterans Day back to its original date: November 11th.
Veterans Day in October was short-lived, lasting only seven years from the law’s 1971 effective date. Veterans and veterans’ organizations rallied to change the law back, claiming that the day’s historical significance (the end of World War 1) was diminished when Congress changed the holiday to suit commercial interests. As a result of the uproar, remaining states changed Veterans Day back to November 11th and soon the Federal government followed suit.
In 1975 President Gerald Ford officially restored Veterans Day back to November 11th, but it didn’t take effect until three years later in 1978. Veterans Day has remained on November 11th ever since.
info from the Historian, Veterans Health Administration