Choosing a wheelchair ramp over a lift system is a matter of budget and personal preference. Both can get you safely in and out of a new or used wheelchair van; however, handicap lowered-floor vans with ramps tend to be less expensive, take up less space and are more fuel-efficient compared to a full-size van, which is used for most wheelchair-lift applications.
Wheelchair van conversion ramps normally come in permanent van conversions where the floor is lowered to allow enough headroom for entering and riding in the vehicle. Most lowered-floor vans come with wheelchair ramps and kneeling systems that lower the wheelchair van and reduce the angle of the ramp. There are two styles of wheelchair ramps—one type folds up in a vertical position, and the other type slides out from the floor of the van.
New and used handicapped accessible vehicles with wheelchair ramps come with either a manual or power conversion. Power wheelchair ramps operate by remote control or by a switch located either on the dash or just inside the side-door panel. Push a button and the door slides open, the ramp extends out and, in cases where a kneeling system is needed, the van lowers. (In case of a power failure, the ramp can be easily operated manually.) Guide your wheelchair or mobility scooter inside and push the button or switch, and the system reverses. Manual systems are spring-loaded to easily fold out and retract into the van.
A vehicle wheelchair lift is a mechanical device used to raise a person in a wheelchair effortlessly into a vehicle. Wheelchair lifts are typically installed in full-sized vans.
There are several wheelchair lift types: cassette lifts that slide out from under the van, horizontal folding lifts that provide users better vision through the windows, vertical folding lifts that enable passengers to enter the van without deploying the lift, and platform wheelchair lifts, which are the most basic of wheelchair lifts.
Hydraulic lifts are the most common type, since they allow for heavier steel construction and higher lift capacity. The other type is the electric lift, made with lightweight aluminum and lighter lift capacity. Lifts require either a lowered floor or a raised roof to provide enough headroom for wheelchair passengers to ride comfortably inside their chairs.
Wheelchair lifts work when space limitations or height requirements make a ramp prohibitive. Wheelchair lifts are often less expensive than a lowered-floor conversion with a ramp, but there are other considerations that include difficulty parking due to their size, high gas prices, and if the floor isn’t lowered, then the wheelchair user can’t see out the windows.
The WaterFire Salute to Veterans is scheduled to take place on November 7th, 2015. This is the third year for this community wide celebration of Veterans. This WaterFire will be a full WaterFire event lighting and solely devoted to saluting and honoring our Veterans and all military personnel of the United States and their families.
Much more than the bonfires, WaterFire presents a wide variety of experiences – traditional to avant-garde and experimental, bringing new audiences to art while filling the city with energy, vibrancy and a new vision for urban life. Programming around this installation varies greatly and WaterFire prides itself on being able to celebrate, champion and highlight various other forms of art, causes, other local organizations and local history. This year WaterFire is proud to honor all of our Veterans with an entire evening dedicated to their service, sacrifice and dedication.
This WaterFire event lighting will include many different activities and initiatives that highlight and celebrate, in both creative and literal representations, all Rhode Island Veterans as well as current members of the armed forces from all branches. The goal is to use the WaterFire platform as a means to educate and bring awareness to the community at large about our Veterans and Veterans Services, as well as serve as a celebration and thank you for the sacrifices that these men and women have made for our country and our community.
Throughout the WaterFire installation there will be many ceremonies and tributes planned over the course of the evening as well as many areas for displays and engagement from Waterplace Basin to Steeple Street to Memorial Park. WaterFire is excited to produce a Veteran’s Resource Fair at the heart of the installation.
Operation Flags for Vets will be placing 64,000 flags on the graves of our beloved veterans for veterans Day, Flagging will commence following a brief ceremony at 10 AM on Saturday November 7. Please bring a long shank screwdriver to make starter holes for the flags.
Removal will take place on Sunday November 15 at 10 AM.
Honoring those who served on Veterans Day
BRIDGEWATER | EAST BRIDGEWATER | WEST BRIDGEWATER
Parade and ceremony: The Tri-Town Parade steps off at 10 a.m. Tuesday from Spring Hill Avenue and travels on Summer Street, Route 104 and Route 28 to Legion Field. There will be a ceremony at Legion Field gazebo. Collation for parade participants will be at the Veterans Club on Cottage Street.
Parade and ceremony: Parade starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Town Hall. A ceremony will take place at the Middleboro Veterans Memorial Park on the Town Hall lawn after the parade. The parade will be cancelled if it rains, but a ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the ballroom at the Town Hall.
Parade and ceremony: Parade steps off at 10 a.m. Tuesday from the War Memorial Building, 156 West Elm St., and concludes with a ceremony at the Veterans of All Wars Monument on Legion Parkway.
School program: The 12th annual Veterans Day program is set for 9 a.m. Monday in the gymnasium at Raynham Middle School and includes guest speakers and entertainment by the school students. All residents who have served in the military, including the Reserves, are invited to attend and receive a show of support from the community.
Breakfast: A pancake breakfast will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at Coyle Cassidy High School, 2 Hamilton St. Cost is $5 is those age 12 and older, $3 for ages 3-11. Proceeds will assist in purchasing and placing memorial markers at veterans’ gravesites in Taunton.
Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at United Parish of Carver, 115 Main St. All Carver veterans will be served at no charge.
ABINGTON | ROCKLAND | WHITMAN
Parade: The annual Tri-Town Parade steps off at 9 a.m. Tuesday from Summit and Union streets in Rockland. The parade is hosted on an alternating basis by Abington, Whitman and Rockland.
Parade and ceremony: Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Washington Plaza and proceeds up Main Street to the World War I Memorial for a ceremony, continues to Veterans Memorial Park and the World War II, Korean and Vietnam Memorial for a ceremony.
Ceremony: A brief ceremony at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 499 Plymouth St., includes the laying of wreaths at the various monuments near the Town Hall and a few words from attendees.
Ceremony: A ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Pembroke Middle School, 559 School St., will include guest speakers and a performance by the Pembroke High School Chorus.
Breakfast and march: Breakfast starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the VFW hall, 10 Highland Ave. At 10:30 a.m., a group will march from the VFW to the war memorial outside the Turner Free Library in Crawford Square.
Flags for gravesites: Flags will be placed at veterans’ graves on Saturday at the Holy Sepulcher and Evergreen cemeteries. Refreshments will be served at the VFW afterward.
Parade and ceremony: The parade starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday at VFW Post 1645, Washington Street; stops at Town Hall for a ceremony and wreath-laying at the Memorial Bell; forms again on Pearl Street and travels to Faxon Veterans Memorial Park for a ceremony; and proceeds on Walnut Street and Washington Street back to the VFW. Collation is at noon at VFW, 837 Washington St.
Hope For Heroes
Homeless Veteran Drive
“Support those who supported U.S.”
November 7-11 2014
What Can You Do?
Donate! Hope For Heroes is collecting items to be donated to homeless Veterans residing at three Massachusetts Veteran Shelters. The following items are needed:
- Sweaters, Turtlenecks, Thermal Underwear, Belts (All Sizes)
- Functional Computers/Software
- Gift Cards to Supermarkets, Drug Stores and/or Department Stores
- Toiletry Items (Shampoo, Shaving Cream, Razors)
- Pillows, Pillow Cases, Blankets, Sheets for Twin Beds
- Wool Knit Hats, Scarves, Gloves
- Disposable Diapers
- Bras (Sizes C and D Preferred)
- Gift Wrap and Supplies
- Gently Worn Male/Female Business Clothing (For Job Interviews)
Milford Nissan: (508) 422-8000
320 East Main Street (Route 16) Milford, MA 01757
Drop Off Times:
- Friday: November 7th 8am – 6pm
- Saturday: November 8th 8am – 5pm | 10am – 12 Noon: WMRC Radio (1490am) LIVE Remote Broadcast
- Sunday: November 9th 12pm – 5pm
- Monday: November 10th 8am – 8pm
- Tuesday November 11th (Veterans Day) 8am – 8pm
8am – 11am Chef Barry Keefe (Dinner & Co. Gourmet Catering) will provide FREE Breakfast Sandwiches to anyone making a donation.
Veterans Day is soon approaching and there are many restaurants and companies who want to thank our veterans by providing them with discounts or a free meal. To those companies offering veterans a free meal or discount, we thank you!
- Most companies require some form of Proof of Military Service. These include: a Military ID Card (active/reserve/retired), Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Drivers License with Veterans Designation, Photograph in uniform, be wearing uniform (if your service permits), Veterans Organization Card (e.g., American Legion and VFW), DD214, discharge paperwork, or other form of identification. Other restaurants and companies may go by the honor system.
- Second, always call ahead to verify locations, times, and participation. Many of the listed companies are franchises and may have different policies.
- Visit WWW.TheMilitaryWallet.com for more information and updates. They do their best to keep their page up to date.
2014 Veterans Day Free Meals and Discounts
Applebee’s – free meal, Nov. 11, 2014:
Last year, Applebee’s served over one million free meals to military veterans and active service-members. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. There will be 7 entrées to choose from, beverage and gratuity not included. Military ID or proof of service required. Click here for more information.
BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Complimentary lunch entree, up to $9.95 value. Offer valid to all active duty military and veterans, with proof of service. Click Here For Locations.
Bob Evans, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free All you can eat hotcakes. For active duty military and veterans with ID or proof of service. Click here for Locations.
California Pizza Kitchen, Nov. 11, 2014:
Choose a pizza, full size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu. Dine-in only. Please come in uniform or bring your military I.D. or other proof of service. Click here for Locations.
Carraba’s, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free appetizer of your choice for active duty service-members and veterans. Military ID or proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Cattlemens Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free 8 oz Sirloin Steak Dinner and beverage on Veterans Day. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
CentraArchy Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal with proof of service at participating restaurants, including Burrito Loco, California Dreaming, Carolina Roadhouse, ChopHouse New Orleans, ChopHouse ’47, Gulfstream Café, Joey D’s Oak Room, and New York Prime. Click here for Locations.
Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for active and former military members with ID or other valid proof of service. Click here for Locations.
Chili’s – free meal, Tuesday, Nov. 11 2014:
Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 7 meals during the dinner hour, or any lunch combo during lunch. Offer only available at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Click here for Locations.
Cotton Patch Café, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former military members. Choices include full-size chicken fried steak, or chicken fried chicken. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Country Cookin, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former military. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
East Coast Wings, Nov. 11, 2014
Free Appetizer or Desert. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Einstein Bros Bagels, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free coffee at participating locations. Available to all active duty members and veterans with ID or proof of service. Click here for Locations.
Fatz Eatz & Drinkz, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former military members, up to $13.00 value. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Fire & Ice Grill & Bar, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for military and veterans. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Friendly’s, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Breakfast offering is free a Big Two Do breakfast, which includes a coffee and the choice between French toast, buttermilk pancakes, or regular toast along with bacon or sausage links, and some eggs. Lunch or dinner includes an All-American Burger served with fries and a beverage. Offer available for active military and veterans with ID or discharge papers. Participating locations only. Click here for Locations.
Golden Corral – Free meal, Monday Nov. 17, 2014 (5pm – 9pm):
The 14th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday dinner will is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. Click here for more information.
Special thanks to Golden Corral: To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 4 million free meals and contributed over $8.7 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization. Amazing!
Hooters, Nov. 11, 2014:
Tuesday, Nov. 11, Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal, up to $10.99 in value with any drink purchase, by presenting a military ID or proof of service at any Hooters location across the country. Click here for Locations.
Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal form the American Values Menu, Nov. 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Includes soup, salad, desert, and beverage. Dine-in only, valid ID or proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Krispy Kreme – Free doughnut and small coffee, Nov. 11, 2014:
Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees, & veterans. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating. Click here for Locations.
Lone Star Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
All veterans and active duty military will be eligible for a free Starter. ID or proof of service required. Please call ahead for verification. Click here for Locations.
LongHorn Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2014:
Complimentary Texas Tonion and non-alcoholic beverage. Offer good for Veterans and active-duty military members. Proof of service required. Visit their site to Click here for Locations.
Max & Erma’s, November 11, 2014:
Participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering military members and veterans a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo, which includes tortilla soup or side Caesar salad, seasoned fries, and chocolate chip cookies. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. Click here for more information. Click here for Locations.
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – free lunch or dinner, Sunday Nov 9, 2014: McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating their 16th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event on Sunday, November 9th. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée from a special menu. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. Click here for more information.
Menchie’s, Nov. 11, 2014:
All veterans and current service-members will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Veterans Day. Click here for Locations.
Noah’s Bagles, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free coffee for active duty and veterans. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Orange Leaf, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free frozen yogurt (up to 11 0z.). Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Outback Steakhouse – Nov. 11, 2014:
Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage. This offer is available to Military Personnel and veterans with ID. Also receive 15% off your purchase from Nov. 12-Dec 31, 2014. Click here for Locations.
Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery, Nov. 11, 2014:
Participating restaurants are offering current service-members and veterans a free Magnificent Seven meal which includes two eggs, three buttermilk pancakes, and a choice of two bacon strips or two sausage links. Beverage not included. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Pinnacle Entertainment (Casino Chain), Nov. 11, 2014:
Select locations are offering a free buffet meal for current military members and veterans. ID or proof of service required. Click here for more information and locations.
Red Lobster – Monday, Nov. 10 – Thursday Nov. 13, 2014:
Free Appetizer on Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers. Click here for locations.
Rib City (St. Louis, Missouri), Nov. 11, 2014:
50% Military Appreciation Meal Discount everyday to all Veterans and Active Duty Military. Eat in or carry out. (Des Peres and Cottleville, MO) Click here for more information.
Sizzler Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free lunch served until 4pm. Choice of 3 entrees, and a free coffee, tea, or fountain drink. Valid with proof of military service. Dine-in only, not valid for salad bar or gratuity. Click here for Locations.
StarBucks, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free tall brewed coffee for active duty, veterans, and their spouses. Participating stores only. Please call ahead.
Tap House Grill, Nov. 11, 2014. Free meal for service-members and veterans with proof of service. Dine-in only. Click here for Locations.
Texas De Brazil Churrascaria, Nov. 11, 2014:
50% off for all current and former service-members at participating locations (please call ahead). Click here for Locations.
Texas Land and Cattle Steak House, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free appetizer or shared plate for current service-members and veterans. ID or proof of service is required. Click here for Locations.
Tim Hortons, Nov. 11, 2014:
All US locations are offering a free donut to all active duty servicemembers and veterans. No purchase necessary. Proof of service required. Click here for Locations.
Travel Centers of America, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for CDL holders who are also veterans. Participating locations only; proof of service required. Click here for more information.
Twin Peaks, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free meal for current and former service-members with proof of service or valid ID. Click here for Locations.
Uno Chicago Grill, Nov. 11, 2014:
Free individual pizza or entrée with the purchase of a pizza or entrée of equal or greater value. Available for all active duty and veterans. No coupon necessary; proof of service required. Don’t forget to tell the staff you are there that day to support Fisher House, and a portion of your party’s check will go to benefit the Fisher House Foundation, an awesome military charity. Click here for Locations.
**** For updates and new information visit WWW.TheMilitaryWallet.com. ****
VMI’s Star Spangled Salute
The 2nd Annual Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute Veteran Contest has now been launched by VMI (Vantage Mobility International) alongside Toyota Motor Sales USA. Enter for your chance to win a brand new 2015 Toyota Sienna with a VMI Access 360 in-floor ramp conversion system.
Only U.S. disabled veterans are eligible to win the free mobility van. If you are a disabled veteran or would like to enter the contest on a veteran’s behalf, simply fill out the form. Only one-entry per household.
- Registrar to win a 2015 Toyota VMI Wheelchair Van
- Entries must be submitted by 11/09/14
- Winner announced Veterans Day, 11/11/14
- 04/02/2014 – VMI will begin accepting The Star Spangled Salute entries
- 11/09/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Entries End
- 11/11/2014 – VMI will draw and announce The Star Spangled Salute on Veterans Day
- 12/31/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Winner MUST claim prize before December 31, 2014
Terms and Conditions:
The 2014 Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute campaign is valid from April 2, 2014 to November 9, 2014 for all Disabled U.S. Veterans.
Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on November 11, 2014 and must show proof of military service. Winner will receive any 2015 Toyota Sienna with the VMI Northstar Conversion; no exceptions will be made.
No purchase necessary. Valid in the United States only. Limit one entry per household. Entries may be made at www.vans4vets.com or by calling 800-488-6148.
If the winner already purchased their Toyota VMI Northstar conversion between April 2, 2014 and November 10, 2014 – they can elect to be reimbursed for their out of pocket cost of the wheelchair accessible Toyota VMI Northstar minivan by December 31, 2014. Reimbursement will be coordinated between VMI and the winner directly if the vehicle was purchased prior to the winner being announced.
Campaign is not valid on any added accessories. Winner is responsible for the payment of applicable taxes and registration fees. Prize must be claimed by December 31, 2014 and is non-transferable. No exceptions will be made.
How much do you really know about this national holiday honoring those who have served our country?
Here are 11 Veterans Day facts in honor of the holiday celebrated in the United States on November 11th. Thank you to all those who have served!
When was Veterans Day first celebrated?
Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day was celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919, which was the first anniversary of the end of the fighting of World War I. The Allies and Germany agree to an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities,on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. (Technically WWI did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.)
Why do we celebrate Veterans Day?
President Woodrow Wilson said of that first observance in 1919, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” That purpose has not changed as today the purpose is still to honor those who have served our nation.
When did Veterans Day become a national holiday?
Although first observed in 1919, Congress did not make it official until 1938. IN 1954, the name changed to Veterans Day. In the 1970s the date moved around in November, causing confusion, and President Gerald Ford in 1975 signed a law placing the observance on Nov. 11 and there it has remained. For more details, please see the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs History of Veterans Day and the U.S. Army’s Center for Miliary History page on History of Veterans Day.
What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?
These two holidays are frequently confused but they are not the same. Memorial Day, celebrated in May, honors those who lost their lives in service to our country, and Veterans Day, celebrated in November, honors all who have served and focusing on thanking living service members, past and present. For the official answer, the Office of of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs explains, “Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.”
In what war did the largest number of Americans serve in the Armed Forces?
World War II saw more than 16 million Americans become service members, according to the 2009 Veterans Day Teacher Resource Guide. As of June 2013, CNN reported that 1.7 million WII vets were still alive.
Why do we spell it Veterans Day? Shouldn’t there be an apostrophe?
“Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an ‘s’ at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans,” explains the Office of of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Is there a national ceremony?
In keeping with the honoring of the timing of the armistice ending the carnage of WWI, a Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The VA website says that ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Which state is home to the largest number of veterans?
California has the most, with 2 million veterans calling the Golden State home. Texas and Florida are next, with 1.6 million vets in each state, reports the Census Bureau.
How many of U.S. vets are female?
There are 1.6 million female veterans, as of 2011, according to the Census Bureau.
How many veterans are there living in the United States?
The U.S. has 21.8 million veterans, according the the Census Bureau’s Snapshot of Our Nation’s Veterans.
Do veterans ever serve in more than one war?
Yes. More than 1.3 million of America’s living veterans have served in more than one conflict, and 54,000 have served in 3 wars – WWI, Korea and Vietnam – according to the Census Bureau’s Snapshot of Our Nation’s Veterans.
Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. That’s not quite true. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America’s war dead.
Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors ALL American veterans, both living and dead. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in the lives to keep our country free.
To commemorate the ending of the “Great War” (World War I), an “unknown soldier” was buried in highest place of honor in both England and France ( (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe). These ceremonies took place on November 11th, celebrating the ending of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). This day became known internationally as “Armistice Day”.
In 1921, the United States of America followed France and England by laying to rest the remains of a World War I American soldier — his name “known but to God” — on a Virginia hillside overlooking the city of Washington DC and the Potomac River. This site became known as the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” and today is called the “Tomb of the Unknowns.” Located in Arlington National Cemetery, the tomb symbolizes dignity and reverence for the American veteran.
In America, November 11th officially became known as Armistice Day through an act of Congress in 1926. It wasn’t until 12 years later, through a similar act that Armistice Day became a national holiday.
The entire World thought that World War I was the “War to end all wars.” Had this been true, the holiday might still be called Armistice Day today. That dream was shattered in 1939 when World War II broke out in Europe. More than 400,000 American service members died during that horrific war.
In 1947, Raymond Weeks, of Birmingham Ala., organized a “Veterans Day” parade on November 11th to honor all of America’s veterans for their loyal and dedicated service. Shortly thereafter, Congressman Edward H. Rees (Kansas) introduced legislation to change the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to honor all veterans who have served the United States in all wars.
In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day, and called upon Americans everywhere to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace. He issued a Presidential Order directing the head of the Veterans Administration (now called the Department of Veterans Affairs), to form a Veterans Day National Committee to organize and oversee the national observance of Veterans Day.
Congress passed legislation in 1968 to move Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. However as it became apparent that November 11th was historically significant to many Americans, in 1978, Congress reversed itself and returned the holiday to its traditional date.
Veterans Day National Ceremony
At exactly 11 a.m., each November 11th, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military branches, renders honors to America’s war dead during a heart-moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
The President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler sounds Taps. The balance of the ceremony, including a “Parade of Flags” by numerous veterans service organizations, takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb.
In addition to planning and coordinating the National Veterans Day Ceremony, the Veterans Day National Committee supports a number of Veterans Day Regional Sites. These sites conduct Veterans Day celebrations that provide excellent examples for other communities to follow.
Veterans Day Observance
Veterans Day is always observed on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls. The Veterans Day National Ceremony is always held on Veterans Day itself, even if the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday. However, like all other federal holidays, when it falls on a non-workday — Saturday or Sunday — the federal government employees take the day off on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday).
Federal government holiday observance (for federal employees, including military) is established by federal law. 5 U.S.C. 6103 establishes the following public holidays for Federal employees: New Year’s Day, Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
This federal law does not apply to state and local governments. They are free to determine local government closings (including school closings) locally. As such, there is no legal requirement that schools close of Veterans Day, and many do not. However, most schools hold Veterans Day activities on Veterans Day and throughout the week of the holiday to honor American veterans.
Veterans Day Around the World
Many other countries honor their veterans on November 11th of each year. However, the name of the holiday and the types of ceremonies differ from the Veterans Day activities in the United States.
Canada, Australia, and Great Britain refer to their holidays as “Remembrance Day.” Canada and Australia observe the day on November 11, and Great Britain conducts their ceremonies on the Sunday nearest to November 11th.
In Canada, the observance of “Remembrance Day” is actually quite similar to the United States, in that the day is set aside to honor all of Canada’s veterans, both living and dead. One notable difference is that many Canadians wear a red poppy flower on November 11 to honor their war dead, while the “red poppy” tradition is observed in the United States on Memorial Day.
In Australia, “Remembrance Day” is very much like America’s Memorial Day, in that its considered a day to honor Australian veterans who died in war.
In Great Britain, the day is commemorated by church services and parades of ex-service members in Whitehall, a wide ceremonial avenue leading from London’s Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square. Wreaths of poppies are left at the Cenotaph, a war memorial in Whitehall, which was built after the First World War. At the Cenotaph and elsewhere in the country, a two-minute silence is observed at 11 a.m., to honor those who lost their lives in wars.
Have You Hugged Your Veteran Today?
One of the most personal and meaningful Veterans Day activities for people is to send notes or cards to hospitalized veterans or those living in veterans homes. Or, better yet, visit a veteran in a local veterans hospital or veterans home. The best way to have a “happy Veterans Day” is to do something special to make a veteran happy.