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Why Veterans Day is always Nov. 11, and a look at what will be closed

Vietnam veterans Allen Norris, Ed Times and Mel Gunderson salute as the national anthem is played during the Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, Nov. 11, 2017.

STARS AND STRIPES

By RYAN W. MILLER | USA Today (Tribune News Service) | Published: November 1, 2019

Veterans Day falls on the second Monday in November this year. The federal holiday is celebrated every year on Nov. 11, regardless of the day of the week it falls on.

First recognized as Armistice Day in 1919, Veterans Day marks the date when Germany and the allies signed a 1918 agreement to cease World War I hostilities. The fighting ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, saying: "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."

In 1938, Congress passed a law to mark Nov. 11 as a legal holiday. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law that changed the name to its current form.

While the holiday was celebrated on the fourth Monday of October for much of the 1970s, President Gerald Ford signed a bill that returned the observance to Nov. 11 beginning in 1978.

Today, Veterans Day celebrates all those who served honorably in the military, whether in war or peace, whereas Memorial Day is for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country.

Here's what's open and what's closed this Veterans Day:

Banks: Many banks, including Federal Reserve Banks, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, will be closed. TD Bank will be open, though.

Mail services: The U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail on Monday, and post offices will be closed. UPS will continue package delivery, though some stores may be closed. FedEx will also deliver, with modified service of FedEx SmartPost.

Schools: Most schools will be closed, including public schools in New York City and Los Angeles, but some might choose to remain open.

Libraries: Most public libraries will be closed, though some cities may leave select libraries open.

Stock markets: The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will remain open.

Federal offices: All non-essential federal government offices are closed.

National parks: National parks will remain open and are waiving all entrance fees to parks.

Courts: Courts will be closed.

Retail businesses: Most department stores and retail shops will be open. Most restaurants will also remain open.

Grocery stores: Most grocery stores will remain open.

Garbage: Some garbage and recycling collection may be delayed or moved to Tuesday in some cities. Check with local providers.

Contributing: Ashley May, USA TODAY.

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