President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 designated November 11 as Armistice Day, a holiday for reflection on the sacrifice and service of military members who served in WWI.
That “war to end all wars” did not not up to the promise. Benjamin Weeks, a World War II veteran from Birmingham, Alabama, petitioned General Eisenhower in 1945 to change the holiday’s name to Veterans Day.
By an act of Congress, the name was changed in June 1954.
Jeff Schogol wrote about Weeks in Stars and Stripes (November 18, 2011). He noted that in 1947 Birmingham celebrated “National Veterans Day” on November 11, inspired by Weeks’ efforts to honor all veterans.
Weeks received the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1982. President Reagan credited him then for being:
…the driving force behind the congressional action which in 1954 established this special holiday as a day to honor all American veterans.
Veterans Day specials
Denny’s restaurant at 2401 Broadway in Sedalia, Mo. offers free Build Your Own Grand Slam on November 11 between 5 a.m. and noon to service members showing valid military ID. In-house dining only.
Golden Corral sponsors Military Appreciation Night from 5 to 9 p.m. providing free “thank you” dinners to past or present members of the U.S. military, including National Guard and Reserves. In-house dining only.
On November 5, 2015, the White House released President Barack Obama’s Veterans Day proclamation.