A veteran is a man or woman who worked in the American military. They are honored on Veterans Day each year on November 11th with national and local meetings, parades, and other programs to recognize their contributions.
World War I was known at the time as "The Great War." The ending of World War I fighting between the Allied Nations and Germany was celebrated at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). November 11, 1918 is also generally known as "The End of the War to End All Wars." The day originally became known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was dedicated to the cause of world peace. An armistice is an official agreement to stop fighting. After World War II and the Korean War, Congress passed the bill that President Eisenhower signed in 1954 proclaiming November 11th as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.
In 1968, the holiday was moved to the last Monday in October, basically to allow 3 day weekends for federal employees. Many people did not agree with this decision due to the historic and patriotic significance of the day and continued to celebrate the holiday on November 11th. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law returning the official celebration to its original date of November 11th beginning in 1978.
In August, 2001, US Senate Resolution 143 designated the week of November 11th-17th as "National Veterans Awareness Week". The resolution is directed toward educating students about the sacrifices and contributions of our military men and women.
Many people still confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day. This special day honors all military men and women who served our country. The primary purpose of the holiday is mainly to thank them for their service to our country. Those killed in wars are honored specially on Memorial Day in May.
Governmental offices usually close on the holiday. State and local governments make the decision to close offices and schools, or not. Banks and other businesses may close. Retail stores are usually open.
It often feels like a sad holiday, but there are many surviving veterans to salute. This is their very special day. They should be honored and thanked for their love of country, the brave service they gave, and for being willing to put their lives on the line for the well being of all the citizens of the United States of America.
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