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Veterans Day.

Today a new generation of Americans knows the hardships and horror of war, the loneliness and sacrifice of serving our country at home or abroad and the meaning of duty and honor. Those men and women and their families will join millions of other proud Americans in honoring all our nation's veterans for their service and sacrifice in solemn ceremonies on Veterans Day.

"On Veterans Day we remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have worn--and continue to wear--the uniforms of our armed forces," said National Commander Bradley S. Barton. "All of us owe a great debt to those who stand on the ramparts, defending our freedom and keeping America a bright beacon of hope in the world."

The focal point for official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day continues to be the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11--the historic moment on Nov. 11, 1918, that marked the end of World War I--a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath. The bugler plays "Taps." The rest of the ceremony takes place in the amphitheater.

Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington and elsewhere are coordinated by the President's Veterans Day National Committee. Chaired by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the committee represents national veterans organizations. The DAV is among the 25 members of the committee. A number of other organizations are associate members of the committee.

Governors of states and U.S. territories appoint Veterans Day chairpersons who, in cooperation with the Veterans Day National Committee and the Department of Defense, arrange and promote local ceremonies.

Many Department of Veterans Affairs facilities will also host local observations of Veterans Day at that hour, often serving as the focal point of commemorative events within their communities. A number of communities hold parades and other special commemorative events, which often involve DAV Departments local Chapters as well as other veterans service organizations.

Although World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the actual fighting between the Allies and Germany had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.

Armistice Day, as Nov. 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that Nov. 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.
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Publication:DAV Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:483
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