November 11th - Veterans Day Parade
Veterans Day honors veterans of all wars for their patriotism and willingness to serve in the military and sacrifice for the country. Veterans Day was originally established to honor Americans who had served in the Great War. The national holiday is celebrated on November 11, the anniversary of the day the Armistice was signed ended hostilities in 1918.
Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, organized a Veterans Day parade for that city on November 11, 1947, to honor all of America's Veterans for their loyal service. Later, U.S. Representative Edward H. Rees of Kansas proposed legislation changing the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all who have served in America’s Armed Forces.
In his 1954 Veterans Day Proclamation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for the formation of a Veterans Day National Committee to oversee national planning and coordination of the Veterans Day observance. He named the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, Harvey V. Higley, as Chairman of committee and called upon the heads of all departments and agencies of the executive branch of the government to assist the committee in every way possible.
In 1968, Congress moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. However, it became apparent that the November 11th date was historically significant to a great many Americans. As a result, Congress formally returned the observance of Veterans Day to its traditional date in 1978.
Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday in May, was originally set aside as 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 on Veterans Day, which is observed on November 11, Veterans Day is intended 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 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.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. At 11 a.m. [the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month], a color guard, made up of members from each of the military services, renders honors to America's war dead during a tradition-rich ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. 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.
Each year the Veterans Day National Committee publishes a commemorative Veterans Day poster. The poster is selected from artwork submitted by artists nationwide and is distributed to VA facilities, military installations around the world across cities and town in our nation. It also serves as the cover of the official program for the Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Veterans Day National Committee also selects a number of regional sites for Veterans Day observances throughout the country. From stirring parades and ceremonies to military exhibits and tributes to distinguished veterans, these events serve as models for other communities to follow in planning their own observances.
The New York City Veterans Day Parade has its roots in parades and marches organized by veterans of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to mark Evacuation Day (November 25, 1783 – the day the British departed New York City at the end of the American Revolution). In 1919, after World War I, millions of New Yorkers welcomed home tens of thousands of troops at Parades along Fifth Avenue, inaugurating a new tradition — and focal point — for honoring service.
When public support of patriotic observances declined in the late 1970s and 1980s, the United War Veterans Council stepped forward to prevent the Parade from disappearing and began the process of restoring it to its position of prominence in the community.
The NYC Veterans Day Parade is the largest Veterans Day event in the nation. The Parade takes place every November 11, rain or shine. Over 300 units and tens of thousands of marchers assemble near Madison Square Park, including veterans of all eras, military units, civic & youth groups, businesses, and high school bands from across America. Floats, military / vintage vehicles and other special elements add to the spectacle.
In 2017, the 99th annual parade — the largest of its kind in the country — kicked off at 11 a.m. near Fifth Avenue with remarks from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who hosted a special Veterans Day breakfast at Gracie Mansion earlier in the day. This year’s grand marshal was astronaut Buzz Aldrin, himself a veteran of the Korean War. The 87-year-old is a Montclair, New Jersey native.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The 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. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
The Manassas Veterans Day Parade pays tribute to veterans and active military for protecting the nation at home and overseas. It is the largest Veterans Day Parade in Northern Virginia, area and includes military and high school bands, pipe and drum corps teams, military units from various branches of the Armed Services, military vehicles, and members of local veteran organizations.
For many years Washington DC did not host a parade in honor of Veterans Day.
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