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Veteran's Day - November 11, 2014
Veterans Day is the American name for the international day called Armistice Day. It falls on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. It is both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states. The same day is observed elsewhere as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. All major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of Armistice. Armistice Day was first commemorated in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and many states made it a legal holiday. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 inviting all Americans to observe the day and made it a legal holiday nationwide in 1938.
The holiday has been observed annually on November 11 since that date - first as Armistice Day, later as Veterans Day. When holidays in the United States, with the exception of New Year's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day were moved to Mondays to create long holiday weekends, the celebration was moved to the fourth Monday of October. However, after protests by veterans groups it was moved back to November 11th in an effort to make the holiday more important. Unfortunately for those groups, the result was the opposite. Even though it is a federal and state holiday, it is formally observed in most parts of the United States only by government offices and banks. Most schools and almost all businesses stay open on regular schedules. As a result, most public transit systems are on regular schedules. Most businesses cite the holiday's proximity to Thanksgiving (when many businesses close for a four-day weekend) as the main reason for staying open on Veterans Day; but most schools and businesses also stay open on Columbus Day, a full month earlier. On November 11, 1953, the citizens of Emporia, Kansas staged a Veterans Day observance in lieu of an Armistice Day remembrance. Congressman Ed Rees of Emporia, Kansas subsequently introduced legislation in the United States House of Representatives to officially change the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Following a letter-writing campaign to secure the support of all state governors in the observance of this new holiday, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day (enacted June 1, 1954), to honor those who served.
The day has since evolved as a time for honoring living veterans who have served in the military during wartime or peacetime, partially to complement Memorial Day, which primarily honors the dead. There has been some discussion of whether a person's veteran status depends upon his/her retirement or discharge from any of the armed forces. However, the term applies to any that have honorably served their country or that have served in a war zone as directed by their superior officers or as directed by lawful orders given by their country.
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