Friday marks the 68th official occurrence of Veterans day, where the United States gathers to celebrate to honor the millions of people who have served in conflicts going back to World War I.
The holiday on Nov. 11 goes back to the end of World War I when fighting ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The following year President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Then in 1938, Congress made officially made it a national holiday.
In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming Nov. 11 as Veterans Day. While a law in 1968 changed the celebration date to the fourth Monday in October, Congress returned the observance to its traditional date in 1978.
To celebrate the holiday this year, President Joe Biden spoke about honoring those who have served and ensuring they get the proper healthcare and treatment that they need.
“I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor, courage, and sacrifice of these patriots through appropriate ceremonies and private prayers, and by observing two minutes of silence for our Nation’s veterans,” Biden said in a statement.
Many organizations also have special events planned. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund will host an observance at The Wall in Washington D.C. The observance marks the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. It is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m., but will likely be shortened due to weather from Tropical Storm Nicole.
Most banks will be closed on Friday and the United States Postal Service will not deliver any mail. However, UPS and FedEx will continue to make deliveries. Federal courts and non-essential government offices will also be closed, as will most school districts.
Retail stores and restaurants will be open, with many of the biggest chains offering discounts to veterans. Dunkin’ Donuts will give out a free donut to veterans and active-duty military members. Starbucks will offer a free tall hot coffee for veterans, military service members and military spouses and Denny’s will offer a complimentary Grand Slam to all active, non-active and retired military personnel.
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