Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Salute to All the Veterans Out There

A quick history of Veterans Day:

Although the official end of World War I wasn’t until June 28, 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, November 11, 1918, is known as the end of the “war to end all wars,” when fighting ended with an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany, going into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

In 1919 President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, and the original concept was for the day to be observed with parades and public meetings, with a suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

On May 13, 1938, an act was approved making the 11th of November a legal holiday, celebrated as Armistice Day. This act was amended in 1938 to change the word from Armistice to Veterans, and was approved by legislation on June 1, 1954, making November 11 a day to honor American Veterans of all wars.

Interestingly enough, in 1968, the Uniform Holiday Bill was signed, creating 3-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays (Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day) on Mondays. Because of this, in 1971, much to peoples confusion, Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25.

Many people were unhappy with this change, because of the historic significant of November 11. Therefore in 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law returning the annual observance of Veterans Day back to November 11.

Today, Veterans Day is celebrated around the country in myriad of ways, most notably at Arlington National Cemetery. The National Constitution Center also celebrates the day with a special wreath laying ceremony at 11:00, along with other commemorative activities.

Ask your students to name any veterans they may know, and take a moment of silence in your classroom to honor these soldiers.

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