In the United States, we put aside the 11th day of the 11th month to honor the people who have served in the United States military. The holiday is slightly different than Memorial Day, which happens in May. Memorial Day commemorates those who have died while serving with U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans Day honors all U.S. military veterans, including those who are fortunately still with us.
Veterans Day coincides with a holiday called Armistice Day, which is celebrated in many countries and marks the ending of the First World War (World War I) in 1918. The First World War was supposed to be the war to end all wars but unfortunately, the United States, and the rest of the world, has seen many conflicts since 1918.
Veterans Day became an official holiday in 1938 when the United States Congress passed a resolution making November 11th a legal holiday to celebrate the Armistice at the end of the First World War. The resolution had been proposed seven years earlier by President Calvin Coolidge in order to create a day to celebrate peace around the world. After World War II ended in 1945, support grew to expand the Armistice celebration to celebrate veterans of all wars.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former 5-star army general and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in World War II, signed Veterans Day into law in 1954. Veterans Day is officially celebrated on November 11th, except in the years when the holiday falls on a weekend. In those cases, the adjacent Friday or Monday will be selected to serve as the official day.
Every year, the United War Veterans Council (UWVC) organizes a televised parade in New York City, which is the largest of its kind, but towns across America organize parades and events for their local veterans. Most parades have marchers, floats, and music, with many even offering a fireworks show at night.
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