American Veterans Day

November 10, 2016

The United States celebrates Veterans Day on an annual basis on November 11. The day marks the anniversary of an agreement between the Allied states and Germany in 1918 that ended World War I hostilities. 

Traditions

The festivities have an aim of showing gratefulness to soldiers defending the USA in all wars. Many parades and church masses are organized for both living veterans and the other people wanting to commemorate the deceased ones. There is a two-minute silence at 11 am. Schools may be opened or closed (it is decided on an individual basis), but all have some kind of assemblies or related activities.

The Veterans Day is celebrated on the weekend most of the time even if it turns out to be on a weekday. Public transportation during the celebration can operate according to a regular or special schedule depending on the decision of the local government. 

American Veterans Day

Historical Background

The armistice between the two rival blocks was introduced at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The first celebration took place a year later. Proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson, the festivities included various parades, meetings, and limited entrepreneurial and public activities.

The US Congress marked the end of the WWI in 1926 and requested that the armistice anniversary should be commemorated with prayers. It required all government-related structures to fly the US flag on this day and organize school and church events with ceremonies. 

The legal celebration day was enacted by the Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) on May 13, 1938. The original name of the holiday was “Armistice” until veteran organizations pushed the Congress into renaming it into a “Veterans Day.” The change entered force from June 1954.

There was an attempt to move the holiday to the last Monday of October (Uniforms Holiday Bill). It came into effect in 1971, but after uncertainty and no desire from many communities and states to implement the bill, President Ford returned the previous holiday date starting from 1978, which is in force today as well.

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