Each year on November 11, Veteran’s Day honors the men and women who have served in the United States Military. According to the US Census Bureau, there are currently more than 21 million military veterans living in the United States. While Memorial Day, each May, remembers deceased service members, Veterans Day is a salute to living, current and former, military members.
Why November 11?
Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday remembers the treaty (signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) that ended World War I. The name was officially changed to Veterans Day in 1954 by President Eisenhower.
2021 Theme and Celebrations
Each year, the U.S Department of Labor announces a theme for the celebration of Veterans Day. The theme for Veterans Day 2021 is the centennial commemoration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located at Arlington National Cemetery.
In conjunction with the annual theme, a poster competition is conducted each year. This year’s Veterans Day poster competition challenged artists to evoke elements of the history, legacy and meaning of the Tomb of the Unknowns during this centennial anniversary
The winning poster was designed by Matt Tavares of Ogunquit, Maine, from an illustration he created for a book called Twenty-One Steps. This picture book, aimed at elementary school children, has a message about the selflessness of the sentinels who guard the Tomb, every minute of every day.
Veterans Day, a federal holiday, is celebrated throughout the country, often with parades and church services. Some schools will be closed on Veterans Day. In many places, the American flag is hung at half mast. A period of silence lasting two minutes is held at 11am.