Veterans Day

Veterans Day, observed on November 11th each year, is a significant national holiday in the United States and several other countries around the world. It is a day dedicated to honoring and expressing gratitude to all military veterans, both living and deceased, for their service and sacrifice in defense of their countries.

Historical Background of Veterans Day

The history of Veterans Day is closely tied to the end of World War I. On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed between the Allied Powers and Germany, effectively ending the hostilities on the Western Front of World War I.

This armistice went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. In the years that followed, this date became known as Armistice Day and was observed to commemorate the end of the war and honor the veterans who served in it.

In 1954, following World War II and the Korean War, the U.S. Congress officially changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to recognize and honor all American veterans, not just those from World War I. The holiday’s purpose expanded to include veterans of all wars and military conflicts.

Observations and Traditions in the United States

In the United States, Veterans Day is observed with various traditions and ceremonies. The main Veterans Day observance in the U.S. takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The President or a high-ranking government official typically lays a wreath at the tomb, and a moment of silence is observed.

Many communities across the country organize parades to honor veterans. These parades often feature military units, veterans’ organizations, and marching bands. Veterans and their families may participate, and spectators line the streets to show their support.

Local ceremonies are held at war memorials, veterans’ cemeteries, and military bases. These events may include the playing of “Taps,” the firing of a 21-gun salute, and the presentation of colors.

In schools throughout the United States, students participate in Veterans Day programs and activities to learn about the significance of the holiday and to honor veterans in their communities.

Many restaurants and businesses offer free meals, discounts, and special deals to veterans on Veterans Day as a way to express gratitude for their service.

Observations in Other Countries

While Veterans Day is most prominently observed in the United States, similar holidays exist in other countries with their own traditions:

Remembrance Day (United Kingdom and Commonwealth)

In the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries, November 11th is observed as Remembrance Day. It includes two minutes of silence at 11:00 AM to remember the fallen soldiers of World War I and subsequent conflicts.

Armistice Day (France and Belgium)

In France and Belgium, November 11th is still observed as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I. Ceremonies and parades are held, and the day is marked with respect and solemnity.

Anzac Day (Australia and New Zealand)

Anzac Day, observed on April 25th, is similar to Veterans Day and honors the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in various conflicts.

Remembrance Day (Canada)

Canada observes Remembrance Day on November 11th, similar to the UK. It includes ceremonies at war memorials and the wearing of red poppies.

In these countries, the observance of Veterans Day or similar holidays serves as an opportunity to pay tribute to the sacrifices of military personnel and to reflect on the importance of peace and remembrance. While specific traditions may vary, the underlying theme of honoring veterans and remembering their service is a common thread across these observances.

Where is it celebrated?
Puerto Rico (Bank/public sector holiday)United States (Federal holiday)US Virgin Islands (Public holiday) Show all
When is it?
This year (2024)
November 11 Monday
Next year (2025)
November 11 Tuesday
Last year (2023)