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Do We Have School on Veterans Day?

For students enjoying the crisp November air, a day off from class seems reasonable to expect for Veterans Day. But should you pack up your homework and sleep in? As autumn leaves tumble in the wind, let’s examine why we commemorate those who defended our nation and whether schools close for the federal holiday. After understanding the history and meaning behind the date, you may appreciate veterans’ service more than simply benefiting from skipping school.

When is Veterans Day and How is it Celebrated Nationwide?

Observed annually on November 11th, Veterans Day honors all members of the armed services who sacrificed for American liberty. The federal holiday‘s consistency allows for reliable closures and community commemorations. For students wondering "do I have the day off?", read on to learn how most districts handle the significant date along with celebrations across the country.

Veterans Day Always Falls on November 11

Veterans Day occurs on the same calendar date every year, November 11th, unlike movable feast days like Thanksgiving. This consistency allows schools, government offices, communities and organizations to plan reliable closures, parades, events and trips to local veterans memorials. For example, the Veterans Day National Ceremony occurs at precisely 11 AM on November 11th each year at Arlington National Cemetery.

It Annually Commemorates the End of World War I

The November 11 date memorializes the armistice signed between Allied nations and Germany to end World War I in 1918. Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" the following year when President Wilson honored those who fought with a national remembrance on November 11, 1919.

In 1954, Its Name Changed to Honor All U.S. Veterans

Although born from the World War I truce date, by 1954 the federal holiday evolved into "Veterans Day" to appreciate and acknowledge all American armed services members. Today, parades, events and school observances aim to recognize wider veterans’ contributions across wars and generations.

Do Most Public Schools Close for Veterans Day?

With Veterans Day‘s patriotic and historical significance, policies around public school closures vary across the country and even districts. Here is an overview of common practices:

Nearly 80% of Public K-12 Schools Close

According to Pew Research data, 4 out of 5 public elementary, middle and high schools close on Veterans Day. Closures allow students and faculty to attend community celebrations, parades and events honoring veterans. The time off also enables special school trips and projects around veterans topics.

Chart showing 79% of public schools closed on Veterans Day

79% of public K-12 schools close on Veterans Day according to nationwide survey data

A Range of Factors Leads Some Districts to Remain Open

While most public school systems cancel classes for Veterans Day, some districts decide to hold a normal schedule. Rationale varies but often considers community preferences, scheduling needs around testing, and accommodating working families. Schools staying open still incorporate lessons, moments of silence and assemblies recognizing veterans.

College Campus Schedules Differ Around Veteran-Focused Events

Universities often remain open on November 11th to allow normal class meetings but sponsor events bringing attention to veterans’ contributions. Ceremonies, fundraisers, speaker panels and volunteer initiatives fill many college campuses on Veterans Day. Some professors opt to cancel lectures allowing students to participate.

How Schools Observe Veterans Day When Classes are in Session

Even schools and districts deciding to hold classes almost universally continue Veterans Day observances through ceremonies, lessons and activities. These traditions maintain the federal holiday’s focus within normal schedules.

Moments of Silence and Flag Raising Ceremonies

The school day often starts with the students, faculty and staff gathering for a moment of silence or flag ceremony honoring those lost in battle along with instilling patriotic values exhibited by veterans. These daily rituals take on elevated meaning on Veterans Day.

“We ask a great deal of the men and women in our armed services. So on Veterans Day, we commemorate their courage and sacrifice.”

– Joe Lieberman, Former U.S. Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate

Veterans Guest Speakers and Classroom Q&A Visits

Schools frequently invite veterans as guest lecturers and speakers to share their military experiences. These first-hand testimonies give students a valuable perspective on veterans’ daily duties, challenges, operations role and lessons learned through service. Speaker Q&A sessions facilitate rich conversations connecting past and present.

Students Create Cards, Care Packages and Artwork for Veterans Groups

Children often make Veterans Day thank you cards and care packages for retired or active duty service members. Teachers may coordinate class-wide activities contributing cards, snacks and artwork to donate at local VA hospitals, bases or outreach centers. For overseas troops, mail call deliveries from school kids provide appreciated morale lifts.

Class Trips to Battlefields, Monuments and Ceremonies

As field trip destinations, visits to nearby war memorials, military cemeteries and preserved battleground sites reinforce Veterans Day‘s historical legacy. These lesson-enhanced trips deliver deeper context around the military contributors, places and actions that shaped our nation’s landscape. Attending local ceremonies shoulder-to-shoulder with saluting veterans also leaves an impression.

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

– Joseph Campbell, Author and Educator

Why is Veterans Day Important?

Beyond wondering if Veterans Day produces a day off school, consider how generations have shown gratitude on November 11th. First created to honor World War I’s end while mourning loss of life, the federal holiday evolved to encompass service and sacrifice of all armed forces veterans.

Commemorating the End of “The Great War” and Restoring Peace

The first Armistice Day on November 11, 1919 celebrated the prior year‘s truce ending World War I after over 16 million had perished. Finally, the horrific trench slaughter ceased thanks to Allied persistence. As church bells rang out worldwide, streets filled with both joy and grief in equal measure.

Honoring Veterans Who Fought in WW II, Korea and Beyond

With more than 600,000 Americans losing their lives in World War II, the holiday‘s scope was expanded beyond The Great War veterans. Efforts led by WWII veteran Raymond Weeks ushered Congress renaming Armistice Day as Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all who stepped forward, whether drafted or volunteered, to serve United States armed forces.

Formalization of November 11th as a Permanent, National Veterans Day

In 1968, Congress solidified November 11th as an enduring observance by passing Public Law 90-363 directing Americans gather each year and “pay tribute to the honorable veterans who made this possible." The law perpetually sets aside the November 11 date for parades, events and ceremonies expressing thanks to all veterans.

Conclusion – Take Time to Show You Care!

While eagerly looking forward to days off, I hope you now better appreciate why we commemorate Veterans Day. Beyond sleeping in or getting excused from that dreaded test, take time to learn about veterans’ sacrifices that enabled your schooling. Ask grandparents about their era’s challenges, volunteer at a VA facility, or lay flowers at a Memorial Wall engraved with names of the fallen. Small gestures to honor Veterans Day make local hometown heroes smile.

I wish you – and all veterans – peace and happiness on this coming November 11th.