Every year on November 11, the United States commemorates those brave men and women who have served and are still serving in our country’s military with what is officially known as Veteran’s Day (note: the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, celebrated in May, is that Memorial Day is for remembering those who died while serving and Veteran’s Day acknowledges all service members, dead or alive).
November 11 is a popular holiday around the world, as well, as it is known elsewhere as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the First World War. (World War I was formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the Germans signed the Armistice).
The holiday has seen several incarnations, names, and even dates, but the first recognition was under President Woodrow Wilson on November 11, 1919, and it only acknowledged those veterans of World War I. In 1938, Congress made it an official federal holiday and called it Armistice Day.
In 1945, World War II veteran hatched the idea that November 11 should recognize veterans of all wars, not just those of World War I. In that form, recognizing all veterans, dead or alive, of all wars, Congress formalized the holiday on May 26, 1954. Less than a week later, Congress amended the holiday to its current name of Veterans Day.
From 1971 until 1978, Veterans Day was recognized on the fourth Monday of November, but was then moved back to its original, and still current, date of November 11.
Being a federal holiday, most schools and many businesses are closed in observance of the holiday. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, as it does in 2012, there will be many festivities and parades on that Sunday, but the holiday will be on Monday, November 12. Federal workers will be given that Monday as a paid day off, no mail will be delivered, and most non-essential federal government offices will be closed. Free meals will be offered to veterans at many restaurants and fast food chains.
And, of course, a great many cities and towns across the country commemorate the day with a parade and other gala events.
Palm Springs Veterans Day Parade
Since 1988, the City of Palm Springs has proudly presented the Palm Springs Veterans Day Parade. As has been the case for years, Palm Springs is a Regional Site for the Observance of Veterans Day, as designated by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Assisting in this year’s Veterans Day Parade is Roadshows, Inc., as they have been doing since 2008. The parade will consist of all branches of the United States Military. There will be more than 80 entries and 2,000 participants in the parade, and a crowd in excess of 40,000 is expected to turn out and honor the veterans.
Military bands, veterans organizations, color guards, and area high school marching bands will take part in the parade, which will begin at 3:30 pm in downtown Palm Springs. There will be pre-parade static exhibits as well as a post-parade concert featuring the 1st Marine Division Band from nearby Camp Pendleton. Following the concert will be a fireworks finale downtown at the intersection of Palm Canyon Drive and Amado Road.