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Why do Americans celebrate Veterans Day?

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Quick Answer

Veterans Day is celebrated to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, heroism and willingness to serve their country in the face of danger. The day pays tribute to all American veterans, living and deceased. Veterans Day is celebrated each year on Nov. 11, regardless of the day of the week it falls on.

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Full Answer

Veterans Day originated as a celebration of the anniversary of Armistice Day. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th month of the 11th day, the cessation of World War I officially took place. One year later, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed Nov. 11 as the commemoration of Armistice Day. A congressional act approved in 1938 made that date a federal holiday, stating that the day was, "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day."

Following World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd Congress heeded urging from veteran's groups to change the name of the holiday. On June 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill changing Nov. 11 from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Each Veterans Day, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

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