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Franco American Society Nov. 12, 1928. Veterans Day is an annual American holiday honoring military veterans of all wars in which the American military have served. It is both a federal and state holiday and is usually observed on November 11th. However, if it occurs on a Sunday then the following Monday is designated for holiday leave, and if it occurs Saturday then either Saturday or Friday may be so designated. This holiday is unique in that it is observed internationally. In other nations it is still known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.

Armistice Day Observance, Swampscott, MA, 1931Veterans Day was originally known Armistice Day, because it commemorates the symbolic end of World War I on 11 November 1918. On this day, at the the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month", the Allies signed an armistice with Germany at Rethondes, France, effectively ending the hostilities on the Western Front. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the cease fire on the Western Front, fighting continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire. The war did not end officially until June, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Sailors marching by City Hall in Armistice Day parade, Nov. 12, 1928, Lynn, Mass.Armistice Day was celebrated in the United States for the first time on November 12, 1919 under President Woodrow Wilson. For the next few decades, Armistice Day honored only those veterans of the Great War. However, in 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill into law changing the focus of the holiday to include not only World War I veterans, but also veterans of all conflicts in which the United States military had participated. On November 8, 1954, Congress voted to change the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.

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