Thursday is Veterans Day and it’s a bit of a mystery on different levels. First of all, the very name. Some claim it’s spelled Veteran’s Day and others say Veterans’ Day. But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports there is no apostrophe for the day “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans. It is a day for honoring all veterans.”
Next, the day’s purpose is often confused with Memorial Day, which is held on the fourth Monday in May. While Veterans Day celebrate the service of all U.S. military vets, Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives while in military service.
The final question that arises regarding Veterans Day is whether everything closes down. The answer is that it is an official federal holiday affecting mail service, federal courts, etc. Brick and mortar banks are closed, but ATM and online services will be up and running, as will schools. Sorry kiddos.
To commemorate the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery Plaza, people will be allowed to walk on the Plaza and present flowers. The Tomb is guarded 24/7 year round by a Sentinel, who “walks 21 steps on a black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and face north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process.” The reason for the number 21 is it symbolizes the military’s 21-gun salute. “Next, the Sentinel executes a sharp ‘shoulder-arms’ movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closet to the visitors, signifying that he or she stands between the Tomb and any possible threat.”