This Friday, students will have no school at Excelsior in honor of Veteran’s Day. Sometimes we have the day off for some official federal holiday but don’t understand what precisely is being celebrated. Veteran’s Day was first commemorated as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919 to celebrate the end of fighting in World War I, at the time the deadliest war in human history. The war was so destructive and deadly that some believed that the war would finally persuade humanity to end wars forever, thus labeling it “the war to end all wars.” In 1938, the day became an official federal holiday to honor veterans of World War I. However, the fantasy that World War I would end all major wars was shattered 20 years after the war’s end when that war was followed by the even deadlier World War II. In the 1950s, celebrating the end of World War I while honoring the veterans of that war was changed by President Eisenhower to celebrate veterans of all American wars, veterans who had risked their lives in service of America. In 1968, to ensure that federal employees received three day weekends to celebrate the holiday, the date of the holiday was changed to always be on a Monday. However, that meant that the holiday would no longer consistently be on November 11. Some states wanted to maintain the tradition of celebrating the day on November 11, which led to confusion of when to celebrate the day, with the federal government officially celebrating the holiday on a different day than several states were celebrating it. To end such confusion, in 1975 the holiday returned to its traditional November 11 date as a federal holiday as well as a state holiday, which stands today. So when you enjoy your day off, please remember the countless veterans who sacrificed so much for this country. Have a nice weekend!