veterans Day is a federal holiday and is celebrated every November 11 to recognize and honor the many military veterans who served or are still serving this country so diligently. That date was decided upon because it is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was declared in World War I. An armistice is a truce agreed upon by opposing sides to stop fighting temporarily.

The following year, on November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day.

The day was observed with parades and gatherings. There was a brief pause in businesses and schools at exactly 11 a.m. Armistice Day became a federal holiday on November 11, 1938. It was not until 1954 that the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day by President Dwight Eisenhower. The name of the legal holiday has remained the same, and it is the one people know about and observe today.

In other countries

The United States is not the only country that celebrates Veterans Day. It is recognized and celebrated in Canada, Great Britain, Australia and France to honor the veterans of World War I and II. The date is on or near November 11. It is called Remembrance Day in those places. It is usually observed with two minutes of silence at 11 a.m.

In the United States, a wreath is placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in an official ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Parades and other celebrations take place in different states in the country.

Different from Memorial Day

People often get Veterans Day confused with Memorial Day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Memorial Day is the fourth Monday in May that honors Americans who died in service to their country. Those who were injured during battle are also honored. The big difference is that Memorial Day remembers the dead and wounded. Veterans Day honors all who served or are still serving. That includes everyone whether dead or alive.

How many in the US?

A veteran is a person who has served or is serving in the armed forces. Records show that over 21.8 million veterans are living in the United States today. They are the men and women who were willing to serve their country in one of the four branches of the military.

There are a lot of free and discounted things available for veterans on or around November 11. Restaurants offer free meals with the proper identification. There are discounts on things such as car washes and entertainment. The freebies and discounted items are at the discretion of individual companies in the veteran's local area.