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October 24, 1977: Last Veterans Day in October

Then the teacher brought her arms down and the kids began to sing … I Knew why I felt at home.  The spirit of freedom was hovering over that play yard as it did all over France at that time. A country was free again. A people had recovered their independence and their children were grateful. They were singing in French, but the melody was freedom and any American could understand that.  America, at that moment, never meant more to me …
Audie Murphy describing a 1948 return visit to France

 

 

 

 

 

Due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October in 1971-1977.  Veterans’ groups were appalled and the date was shifted back to the traditional November 11 in 1978 where it has remained.

On September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford, a Navy combat veteran of World War II, signed the law returning Veterans Day to November 11:

I HAVE signed into law today S. 331, a bill which will return the annual observance of Veterans Day from the Fourth Monday in October to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supports the expressed will of the overwhelming majority of our State legislatures, all major veterans service organizations, and many individuals.

Under a law enacted in 1968, the fourth Monday in October was designated for the observance of Veterans Day. Since that law took effect, it has become apparent that the commemoration of this day on November 11 is a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens. It is a practice deeply and firmly rooted in our customs and traditions. Americans have appreciated and wish to retain the historic significance of November 11 as the day set aside each year by a grateful nation to remember and honor those, living and dead, who fought to win and preserve our freedom.

I believe restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 will help preserve in the hearts and lives of all Americans the spirit of patriotism, the love of country, and the willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good symbolized by this very special day.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

2 Comments

  1. the idea of a “uniform Monday holiday act” reminds me of the same bad idea as carried out by the Catholic church in America moving important biblical memorial days to the nearest Sunday – e.g. The Ascension. Jesus ascended 40 days after Easter – (40 has its own importance). I live on the border of three dioceses and people have no confidence that holy days of obligation are anything special, since Thursday on this side of the river is ordinary and on the other side it is HOLY!
    Also goofed up Epiphany (twelfth day) in the same way.
    God established feasts and seasons-

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