Why Veterans Day And The Number 11 Are Tied Together

November 11th is the 315th day of the year (except on leap years). It’s also Veterans Day, a federal holiday honoring all military veterans.

Why is Veterans Day 11/11?

The holiday marks the anniversary of the 1918 signing of the Armistice, which took place in a railway carriage, between the Allies and Germany. This event marked the end of fighting on the Western Front in the First World War. The signing took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

In other parts of the world, the day is celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.

WATCH: Why Are Only Some Wars Called "Revolutions"?

Veterans Day and numerology

The interest in 11:11 is a phenomenon of numerology, the notion that numbers hold some intrinsic value beyond their significance as symbols of quantity. A popular belief holds that the combination “11:11” is noticed on clocks with too great a frequency to be coincidence.

In that spirit, let’s look at what else happened on this day in history and see if we can draw any conclusions beyond mere coincidence:

  • In 1620, the Mayflower compact, the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony, was signed near Cape Cod.
  • More than 200 years later, in 1889, Washington was admitted as the 42nd US state.
  • In 1926, the legendary Route 66 was established.
  • In 2004, the Palestine Liberation Organization confirmed Yasser Arafat’s death but did not identify the cause. Shortly after, Mahmoud Abbas was elected chairman of the PLO.
  • Golden Globe Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio was born on this date, as was the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

There is such a thing as the “law of truly large numbers,” which states that any group of large enough numbers (like dates and years) will contain outrageous and odd coincidences. What do you think?


It’s no coincidence that there’s some debate on the grammar of Veterans Day. Find out whether the holiday name should have an apostrophe in it.

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