American service members, past and current, may hear “Thank you for your service” on Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11.
Unsure exactly what Veterans Day is?
Read on for a look at the holiday and the history of the occasion.
What is Veterans Day?
“While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military — in wartime or peacetime,” the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says on its website.
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The holiday “is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated and to underscore the fact that all those who served — not only those who died — have sacrificed and done their duty,” the site also says.
The roots of Veterans Day go back nearly 100 years.
Why is Veterans Day on Nov. 11?
Fighting during World War I stopped on Nov. 11, 1918 due to an armistice between the Germans and the Allies, the VA website notes. Nov. 11 was originally commemorated as Armistice Day by then-President Woodrow Wilson in 1919.
Congress passed a resolution in 1926 calling for Nov. 11 to be remembered each year “with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”
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In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal public holiday.
Many American soldiers lost their lives during World War II and the Korean War.
In the wake of these wars, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Is it ‘Veterans Day,’ ‘Veteran’s Day’ or ‘Veterans’ Day’?
The first oneis correct. There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day.
“Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an ‘s’ at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans — it is a day for honoring all veterans,” the VA’s website notes.
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The date was briefly changed in the 1960s to the fourth Monday in October to create a three-day weekend — but President Gerald Ford signed a bill in 1975 returning Veterans Day to Nov. 11, notes the VA.
Ford said back then that the “restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 will help preserve in the hearts and lives of all Americans the spirit of patriotism, the love of country and the willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good symbolized by this very special day.”
Is Veterans Day a federal holiday?
Yes, it is. Federal buildings are closed on Veterans Day if it falls on a weekday.
The federal holiday is observed on Friday or Monday if Nov. 11 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, respectively.
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No law, whosever, mandates the closure of other buildings and businesses. Schools and private businesses are closed on a case-by-case basis, according to the VA website.
Many communities honor the holiday with parades or ceremonies for veterans on the weekend closest to Nov. 11.
What’s the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May, honors members of the military who died during their service.
Veterans Day recognizes anyone who has served, whether in peacetime or in combat and whether deployed to other countries or domestically.
So on this — and every — Nov. 11, thank a service member for his or her service, taking care to be respectful toward the veteran if he or she doesn’t feel much like talking about it.
Many veterans remain humble and quiet about their service. As one veteran told Fox News Digital about his service during the Vietnam War, “There is just no way to explain it to anyone who has not been in a hostile war environment.”
Do other countries celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11?
Yes and no.
While many countries have some sort of public holiday on Nov. 11 to honor the armistice of WWI, their holidays are not nearly the same as Veterans Day in the U.S., notes the VA’s website.
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Canada and Australia observe “Remembrance Day” on Nov. 11, and Great Britain’s “Remembrance Sunday” is on the Sunday closest to Nov. 11, the website adds.
While the names of the holidays are the same, in Canada, Remembrance Day is “intended to honor all who served in Canada’s Armed Forces,” said the VA site — including those who died.
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Conversely, in Australia and Great Britain, Remembrance (Sun)Day is more similar to Memorial Day in the United States.