On November 11 we honor the many selfless men and women who have risked and often sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Here are some ways you can show your appreciation for their service.

The U.S. flag is flown on Veterans DayPresidential Proclamation

Read the Presidential Proclamation announcing Veterans Day 2014.

National Veterans Day Ceremony

The National Veterans Day Ceremony occurs each year on 11/11 at 11 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Many regional observances also occur throughout the country.

Veterans Day Deals for the Troops

Many restaurants and retailers are offering Veterans Day discounts or free meals to service members and veterans. Some offers even extend to family members. This is a partial list of discounts and other deals available to veterans, compiled by the Veterans Administration.

Teaching Materials

The National Education Association has a collection of Veterans Day teaching materials for Grades K–5. They include lesson plans, activities, a bibliography of children’s literature, and other resources.

Another teacher resource guide is available from the Veterans Administration. It includes activities, historical and statistical information, illustrations, a directory of veterans service organizations, information on flag etiquette, and more. It was created in 2009 but still contains many valuable resources.

History of Veterans Day

Although World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 18, 1919, the fighting had ceased several months earlier when an armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918.

  • On the first anniversary of this cessation of hostilities, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first celebration of “Armistice Day.”
  • In 1926 the U.S. Congress passed a concurrent resolution urging the annual commemoration of Armistice Day with displays of the flag and other appropriate ceremonies.
  • In 1938 an act of Congress made November 11 an official national holiday.
  • In 1945 World War II veteran Raymond Weeks proposed expanding Armistice Day to honor all American veterans, not just those who served in World War I. A law was passed by Congress in 1954 to establish the new holiday, and shortly thereafter the law was amended to change the name from “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day.”
  • The Uniform Holiday Bill of 1968 arranged for four national holidays (Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day) to be celebrated on Mondays every year so as to ensure a three-day weekend. Many Americans were not pleased with this decision, and in 1975 a law was passed to restore the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 of each year, beginning in 1978.

Read more about the history of Veterans Day at the Center of Military History Web site and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.

Would You Like to Know More?

You can find other Veterans Day resources at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Photo of U.S. flag from the Veterans Day Poster Gallery on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.

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