Education

Veterans' Day

Veterans Day is celebrated with a ceremony held at the Veterans War Memorial of Texas every November 11th starting at 11am. The ceremony is supported through the partnership of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas, the City of McAllen, Texas Army National Guard and local veterans organizations. Hundreds of people from throughout the area gather at this ceremony to honor all veterans that have served or are serving in all the military services of the United States.

All veterans, non-veterans, families, teachers, students, and other community members are encouraged to attend this November 11th to honor all veterans for their service and remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for our Nation.

Background and History of Veterans Day

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 marked the beginning of an armistice that went into effect between the Allied Nations and the Central Powers during World War I. World War I, also called “The Great War”, officially ended on June 28, 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed outside the town of Versailles, France.

In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "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…"

Beginning on November 11, 1919 the American people celebrated Armistice Day to honor all the veterans that served during World War I. The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.

On June 4, 1926, the United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution that the 11th of November should be commemorated annually honor veterans of World War I and remember the cost of war in the hope that such a conflict will never again occur. Congress urged the President to issue a proclamation to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings and invite the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies.

On May 13, 1938, the United States Congress passed an act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) that made Armistice Day, to be commemorated on the 11th of November each year, a legal holiday.

On June 1, 1954, the United States Congress amended the act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." This change, urged by veterans service organizations, to additionally honor the large number of veterans that had served during World War II and the Korean conflict would also come to include American veterans of all wars.

On June 28, 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed. As a result of this bill, Veterans Day was to be celebrated on the 4th Monday in October. A large number of American citizens and state legislatures felt that November 11th had a historic and patriotic significance and continued to celebrate Veterans Day on the original date.

In response to the requests of the American people, Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479) was signed by President Gerald R. Ford on September 20th, 1975 to return the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11th.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

For Educators

One of the main reasons that the Veterans War Memorial of Texas was developed is to provide an educational and historical setting so that schools, teachers, students and families may visit and learn about all the wars and conflicts of this nation while honoring the sacrifices of the 1.3 million men and women killed or missing in action in these wars and conflicts.

Teachers are invited to bring their students to the Memorial on Veterans Day in order to enhance classroom instruction and engage students at this innovative, one-of-a-kind, educational and historical Memorial.

We understand the demands placed on teachers in todays’ learning environment. In an effort to assist teachers, we have developed a lesson plan and supporting materials to help you teach your students about the significance of Veterans Day. A wiki has been created if you’d like to assist in developing instructional materials or would like to share materials already created. The wiki is located at http://vetmem.pbworks.com/ .

Educational materials:

Veterans' Day Powerpoint Presentation:
Powerpoint Presentation PPTX PDF Document PDF

References

Department of Veterans Affairs – History of Veterans Day

http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

U.S. Army Center for Military History – The History of Veterans Day

http://www.history.army.mil/faq/vetsday/vetshist.htm