First established in 1919 as Armistice Day to celebrate the end of World War I, Nov. 11 was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to include American veterans from all wars. Get the kids involved this year with fun activities, games and events in your neighborhood, or take time out of your busy schedule to give back while making new memories together.
Military families enjoy discounts, free offers and special events around the country. Families in the Virginia area enjoy free admission to Colonial Williamsburg, the historic district in Williamsburg, Va., including access to general stores, colonial homes, gardens, museums and the Governor’s Palace.
For those in the Virginia and Washington, D.C. area, take in some history while honoring veterans on with a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery. With more than 250,000 American heroes laid to rest, the site can be overwhelmingly powerful for visitors of all ages. Visit the eternal flame at John F. Kennedy’s grave and stroll through the various monuments including the Marine Corps War Memorial. Head over early and observe traditional Veterans Day ceremonies including the laying of a presidential wreath, playing of Taps and paying respects to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Head to the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, displaying art exhibits and incredible artwork created by veterans. The National Veterans Art Museum showcases a unique and important perspective on how it feels to have served in the military by veterans in their own interpretation and voice. The museum was originally dedicated to artwork created by Vietnam soldiers, but has since opened to works by all veterans. Check out special exhibits on Veterans Day and stop in exhibits “Above and Beyond,” “The Things They Carried” and the Vietnam Memorial, displaying 58,226 dog tags dangling from the ceiling.
Veterans Day weekend offers active military and veteran families special admission prices and events. Check out the museum’s exhibits and sit in on keynote speakers, musical performances and various events over the long weekend.
Take a boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial for a documentary and history lesson. The World War II Valor in Pacific National Monument explores the USS Arizona Battleship, sunk Dec. 7, 1941, during the historical attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The loss of thousands of U.S. sailors ignited the United States’ involvement in WWII and is an incredibly impactful memorial for visitors.
Check out local parks and events in your area for a way to support and remember veterans and their families.