News

Veterans Day

The nation honors military members on November 11

November 10, 2016
SAUL LOEB—AFP/GETTY IMAGES

President Barack Obama participates in a wreath-laying ceremony during the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2015.

The nation celebrates Veterans Day on November 11 to honor all who have served in the military for the United States. Across America, various parades and ceremonies are held to celebrate the loyal services of our country’s armed forces. Some schools will have special events, too. What will your classroom do to celebrate Veterans Day?

History of the Holiday

Sgt. First Class Mark Olson-Jones carries his daughter, Olivia, while passing out candy along a Veterans Day parade route in Denver, Colorado, on November 8, 2015.

BRENT LEWIS—THE DENVER POST/GETTY IMAGES
Sgt. First Class Mark Olson-Jones carries his daughter, Olivia, while passing out candy along a Veterans Day parade route in Denver, Colorado, on November 8, 2015.

At 11:00 A.M. on November 11, 1918, World War I was officially declared over. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson set aside November 11, 1919 as Armistice Day in the United States. Armistice is a term used to describe a formal agreement or truce. Wilson’s intention was to create a lasting peace after the war by remembering and honoring the sacrifices the military made during World War I.

Congress declared November 11 a national holiday in 1938. After a town in Kansas organized a local Veterans Day Parade, a Kansas representative proposed to change the holiday’s title. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.

Showing Appreciation

Today, federal celebrations of the holiday remain close to its origins. The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns, a monument dedicated to military members who died in service and were unable to be identified. A parade of colors by veterans' organizations follows the ceremony, with remarks from the President and other government officials.

To help show veterans how much they appreciate their service and sacrifice, some schools are participating in a HISTORY channel program called Take a Vet to School Day. It connects veterans of all ages with students across the country. The program provides resources to teachers and students to gain a better understanding of our nation’s history through a veteran’s experiences.

Resources can be found at history.com/veterans.


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