A Veterans Day ceremony will be held at the Stillwater Veterans Memorial beginning at 11:30 a.m., Monday, Nov. 11, following the annual downtown Stillwater salute to veterans at 11 a.m.  These events honor St. Croix Valley area veterans from all branches of the armed forces, in concert with Veterans Day ceremonies all across the country.  The Stillwater Area High School Band and Summertime Quartet will perform patriotic music, and there will be presentation of the colors, a remembrance of veterans, and a keynote address.  This year’s guest speaker is Major Justin Bradshaw, United States Army.

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially occurred on Nov. 11, 1918.   In legislation that was passed in 1938, Nov. 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day."  As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress –  at the urging of veterans service organizations – amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans."  With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.  Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October.  Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date.  The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally, on Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.  Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed annually on Nov. 11.

The Stillwater Veterans Memorial is located at the corner of Third and Pine Streets in Stillwater, across from the Washington County Historic Courthouse.  This free event is open to all members of the community.  As there is limited seating available, please consider bringing lawn chairs for additional accommodations.  Beverages and refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Cub Foods, Kowalski’s Markets, and Dunn Brothers.  Media support is provided by Johnny’s TV and Valley Access Channel.  For more information, please visit Stillwater Veterans Memorial at http://www.stillvetmem.org and https://www.facebook.com/stillwater.veterans.memorial

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