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Definition: VETERANS' DAY from The Columbia Encyclopedia

holiday formerly observed in the United States as Armistice Day in commemoration of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I. Nov. 11 officially became Veterans' Day on May 24, 1954, by act of Congress. The day is set aside in honor of all those who have fought in defense of the United States.

Summary Article: Veterans Day
from Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary

On November 11, 1918, the armistice between the Allied and Central Powers that halted the fighting in World War I was signed in Marshal Ferdinand Foch's railroad car in the forest of Compiègne, France. In the United States, the name Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor those who have served their country in other wars as well.

In Great Britain, Canada, and France, it is dedicated primarily to those who died in either of the world wars. The British, Australians, and Canadians call it Remembrance Day.

In England it is also known as Poppy Day for the red paper flowers sold by the British Legion to benefit veterans. In the U.S. veterans groups sell poppies on MEMORIAL DAY.

An attempt in 1971 to make Veterans Day conform to the “Monday Holiday Law” by scheduling it on the fourth Monday in October triggered widespread resistance, and seven years later it was moved back to the traditional November 11 date. In many places the 11th day of the 11th month is celebrated by observing a two-minute silence at 11:00 in the morning, the hour at which the hostilities ceased.


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 1722 I St. N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20421 800-827-1000 or 800-273-8255

Canada Veterans Affairs

61 Hyperion Ct.

Ste. 04

Kingston, ON K7K 7K7 Canada


Australian War Memorial

G.P.O. Box 345

Canberra, ACT 2601 Australia


fax: 61-2-6243-4325

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