When is Veterans Day?

That’s a strange question for a US citizen to ask, but these things keep changing. When is Veterans Day observed this year? Is it a day of the year (the eleventh of November), or the Monday closest to the day (the twelfth)? When can shoppers expect Veterans Day Veterans Deals? Is Veterans Day a federal holiday?

William Cain

in Events and Holidays

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Daniel King on November 7, 2018

Veterans Day is a federal holiday when we remember the survivors of wartime military service. Originally it was observed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the anniversary of the end of the First World War. (This anniversary was also known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.) In 1971, under the “Monday Holiday Bill,” Veterans Day was one of several holidays officially observed on the Monday closest to the original date. In 1978, by popular demand, Veterans Day was restored to its original date with the provision that, if the eleventh of November falls on a Sunday, the holiday may be taken on the Monday, and if it falls on a Saturday, the holiday may be taken on the Friday.

In the United States post offices will be closed, mail won’t be delivered, and most banks and schools won’t open on the twelfth of November. Government employees and about one out of five private-sector employees have a paid holiday. Relatively few people read Woodrow Wilson’s Veterans Day speech at 11 a.m. on the eleventh (the text is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Day). Depending on the weather, some people appreciate a chance to stay indoors or go outdoors. Some veterans express annoyance at a holiday whose only effect on their lives is interference with their mail.

To add some meaning to the holiday, stores and restaurants have begun offering Veterans Day deals for veterans. Proof of service may be good for a meal, drink, or discount on Monday or (if a business is open) on Sunday. Years like 2018 offer an excuse for businesses to add your name to an e-mail or phone list. Some churches have special services, and some organizations have special programs for Veterans Day.

When Veterans Day is most meaningful, observance is directed by the veterans you know personally. Ask them how they would like to be celebrated, and do that. (Parents and grandparents may say things like “Get a full-time job.” At least you could try.) Some veterans like to get together; some prefer family time or quiet time on their special day.

Cynthia Baker2 months ago

It’s nice to see the name of the holiday spelled correctly. When Veterans Day is spelled with an apostrophe, that makes it seem like the property of one or more veterans. The day when we all celebrate all veterans’ service is Veterans Day, just as the day when we give thanks is Thanksgiving Day and the day when we maintain memorials is Memorial Day.

It’s still kind of a depressing day if you over-think it. A person becomes a veteran by outliving some friends and colleagues. The older you are, the more of your friends you have outlived. Sometimes I wonder whether people use apostrophes because they’d rather think about an individual veteran’s day off work, or a group of veterans’ day out, instead of a day to think about all veterans and what being a veteran means. Some veterans might prefer a “Father’s Day” (as distinct from Fathers Day).

Olive Wilson2 months ago

People asking “Is Veterans Day a federal holiday?” might think that that means it’s not a state holiday. In every state except Wisconsin, it is. (Why not Wisconsin? I have no idea.) State government offices are closed, and most state employees get a paid holiday. Public schools are state, not federal, institutions but may open on Veterans Day if parents have demanded that. Veterans Day veterans’ deals are private. In nationwide chain restaurants like Golden Corral, the deals are supposed to be available to all veterans everywhere, even in Wisconsin.  


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