About Veteran's Day
Veterans Day is a federal holiday on November 11th or the weekday closest to November 11th, if November 11th falls on a weekend.
History of Veterans Day
The holiday honors all veterans of the United States armed forces.
A traditional observation is a moment of silence at 11 AM remembering those who fought for peace. (Commemorates the cease-fire in the 1918 armistice which was scheduled for "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.")
Did you know?
The last soldier killed in action in World War I is generally acknowledged to be an American called Henry Gunther from Baltimore. He was killed 60 seconds before the armistice came into force while charging German troops who knew that the Armistice was imminent. It was said that Gunther had been despondent over a recent reduction in rank and was trying to redeem his reputation.
The day of recognition for Veterans of the Great War (World War I) on this date was first proclaimed by President Wilson on November 11th 1919. In May 1938, the 11th of November in each year was declared a legal holiday and was known as 'Armistice Day'.
Did you know?
The war which claimed the most American lives was the Cvil war, with over 618,000 deaths, compared to 416,000 in World War II.
In 1953, a shoe store owner named Al King started a campaign that the day should celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War 1, suggesting it should be renamed 'All' Veterans Day.
Al's idea was taken up by his local Chamber of Commerce and then by a local congressman, who helped push a bill for the holiday through Congress. President Eisenhower signed it into law and in May 1954, Congress amended the law and officially replaced 'Armistice' with 'Veterans'.
In 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act initially applied to Veterans Day as well, stipulating that the federal holiday should be observed on the fourth Monday of October. However, veterans groups opposed the change and most states kept their Veterans Day commemorations on November 11th. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law that moved the holiday back to November 11th.
How is Veterans Day observed?
An annual Veterans Day parade takes place on 5th Avenue in Manhattan with over 500,000 attendees.
Across the country, many restaurants and fast-food chains offer free meals to veterans.
Veterans Day Quiz
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[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]