The history and significance of Veterans Day

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JEFFERSON CITY - Americans have been celebrating Veterans Day for decades, but do we really know what it signifies?

KOMU 8 News spoke with several people Tuesday, and most people knew the general significance of the day. Some people had a more difficult time explaining the exact history of Veterans Day, along with the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day because it represented the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when fighting in World War I came to an end. WWI officially ended when Germany and the Allied Nations signed the Treaty of Versailles.

President Woodrow Wilson named Nov. 11 Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919. Armistice Day mainly represented veterans of WWI.

Close to 35 years later, Congress removed the word "armistice," replacing it with "veterans."  With the mobilization of soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors in World War II, Congress changed the meaning of the day to honor American veterans of all wars. 

Here are some responses from Missourians about the history and significance of Veterans Day:

Why is Veterans Day on Nov. 11?

"I think it's when they signed the treaty to the allies and Germany," Marcello Rogers said. 

"Isn't that the day we declared a cease fire?" Kari Lane said. 

What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

"Both of them have to do with veterans and freedom," Rogers said. 

"It has to do with World War I, and when we declared a cease fire and that's as clear as I can get," Lane said.