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Veterans Day is an American holiday honoring military veterans. Both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states, it is celebrated on the same day as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (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 the Armistice.)
Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to United States 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 holiday is commonly misprinted as Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day in calendars and advertisements.
The commemoration of Armistice Day was recognized in the United States by a proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, with the words:
Congress passed a resolution in 1926 inviting all States to observe the day a letter-writing campaign to secure the support of all state governors in the observance of this new holiday.
On June 1, 1954, the name of the holiday known as Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day as a tribute for the nobility of all soldiers who have fought for or who are fighting for the United States. The day is set aside as a national holiday and all nationally-run businesses and operations close for the day, such as the postal service and banks. Other businesses may have shortened hours or may not be affected at all.
The celebration was moved to the fourth Monday of October by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 (the law also moved George Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day). After protests by veterans groups, it was moved back to November 11 in 1978 (most states had reverted to the original date during the 70s). 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. Some schools and almost all businesses stay open on regular schedules. Most public transit systems thus stay 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 some schools and most businesses also stay open on Columbus Day, a full month earlier.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Whereas it has long been our customs to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by rededicating ourselves to the cause of peace; and Whereas in the intervening years the United States has been involved in two other great military conflicts, which have added millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this Nation; and
Whereas the Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926 (44 Stat. 1982), calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies, and later provided in an act approved May 13, 1938 (52 Stat. 351) , that the eleventh of November should be a legal holiday and should be known as Armistice Day; and
Whereas, in order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful Nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress, by an act approved June 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 168), changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day:
Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America , do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 , as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.
I also direct the appropriate officials of the Government to arrange for the display of the flag of the United States on all public buildings on Veterans Day.
In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to wish to join hands in the common purpose.
Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and cause the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this eighth day of October in the Year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-ninth.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
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