Today’s Washington D.C. Veterans Day event will take place at the Arlington National Cemetery and is called the National Veterans Day Ceremony. The event is held each year on November 11, but today’s event will be a more socially distant affair because of the pandemic.
Watch the Arlington National Cemetery Ceremony Online
You can watch the ceremony online on C-SPAN here starting at 11 a.m. Eastern or you can watch the Veterans Day Wreath Laying Ceremony, starting at 10:50 a.m. Eastern, in the stream below.
Schedule for the Arlington National Cemetery Ceremony
The 67th Veterans Day Observance today will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern with the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, conducted by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. The Honorable Robert Wilkie, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs will lay the wreath.
The ceremony is hosted by Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones, commanding general, Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and U.S. Army Military District of Washington.
Today’s ceremony is modified to allow for greater social distancing and safety. Attendance is limited to official participants only, but the public can watch in the webcast embedded earlier in this story. There is no Memorial Amphitheater observance this year. Arlington Cemetery’s webpage explained: “Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its partners will conduct the ceremony in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local government guidelines. Our foremost concern is the health and safety of the veteran population and invited attendees.”
Today, Arlington National Cemetery will be open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, the Memorial Amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are closed to the public, Arlington Cemetery noted in a press release. If you are visiting the cemetery, you are asked to follow social distancing requirements and wear a face covering.
The History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day celebrates the anniversary of the end of World War I (on November 11). The holiday was originally called Armistice Day, but it was replaced by Veterans Day in 1954. Today, it honors all veterans who have served in the U.S. military.
On November 11, 1918, World War I was officially ended. On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued a message about celebrating Armistice Day.
In 1938, November 11 was officially dedicated as Armistice Day to celebrate World War I veterans, Military.com shared. But then in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed the holiday to Veterans Day to honor all veterans of wars, including World War I. Veterans Day is still celebrated on November 11, but if it falls on a weekend then it is officially observed either the Friday before (if it’s on a Saturday) or the Monday after (if it’s on a Sunday), allowing federal employees to still have a day off to honor veterans.
Today, Veterans Day is a day to honor and celebrate military veterans, as well as active-duty military personnel who are still serving to protect the United States of America.