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Americans Observe Veterans Day

November 11, 2012

November 11 is Veterans Day in the U.S. - a federal holiday to honor all military personnel who have served the U.S. in all wars.

The sun sets behind U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jamie R. Johnson, a platoon sergeant assigned to Bayonet Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, as he patrols Afghanistan's Kunar province, March 17, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mark Burrell

This is the first Veterans Day since the last U.S. troops left Iraq in December. The holiday this year is also a chance for Americans to thank the rapidly shrinking population of World War II veterans.

The U.S. president places a wreath every Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

Communities across America traditionally hold Veterans Day observances and ceremonies. Federal offices will be closed Monday in recognition of the holiday.

​​Veterans Day - originally called Armistice Day - was first observed in 1919. One year earlier, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations took effect.

Britain honored its war dead Sunday - Remembrance Day - with a moment of silence at 11 a.m., local time.

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