Veterans Day, one of the federal holidays of U.S.A, falls on 11th November.
It is to honor all the veterans of war, especially those alive. It also marks the anniversary of the armistice which ended World War I.
It is usual to mix Memorial Day (A day of remembering those who died while serving for the war) with Veterans Day. However, Veterans Day, is a celebration of the service of all veterans of the US military.
In US, Veterans Day was formerly known as Armistice Day. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, an armistice was signed between Germany and the Allied nations to end World War I (The Great War). Armistice Day was commemorated from the year following the signing of the armistice in 1918.
The official recognition of Armistice Day occurred in 1926. The US Congress declared the end on World War I and urged that the anniversary of the armistice should be commemorated with prayers and offering thanks to the military men.
The Congress also requested the president should “issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places
with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other people”
On May 13, 1938, November 11was declared as a federal holiday as Armistice Day by an act.
After World War II, as America fought with Korea, there was a large mobilization of American troops. In light of the great efforts of the US military men during the Korean war, the veteran’s service organizations made the Congress amend the 1938 act and convert Armistice Day to ’Veterans’ Day - A day to honor all US military veterans, especially of the Korean War.
A ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery happens every year on November 11 exactly at 11 am. Members of all military branches extend honors to America’s war fighters, both dead and living. A ’Parade of Flags’ takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb. Numerous parades are also held at various states.
The observance of Veterans Day as a holiday is moved to a day preceding or a day after if it falls on a non-working day. Federal offices and some schools are closed on Veterans Day. Other local and state organizations may or may not be closed.
Honoring Veterans around the world -
Other countries like Canada, Great Britain and Australia also observe honoring the veterans of World War I and II from their country. Veterans Day is known as ’Remembrance Day’ in these countries. The pattern of celebration differs everywhere. Observing silence for two minutes on 11th November is a common practice among various countries.