A good reason for a day off

Students and most government employees will get a break Monday with a day off for Veterans Day in honor of those who have served in the armed forces.

Veterans Day has been observed in the United States since 1954 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called in a proclamation for "all of our citizens to observe Thursday, Nov. 11, 1954, as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."

The proclamation signed July 1, 1954 changed the celebration from Armistice Day.

Armistice Day had been celebrated since Congress named Nov. 11 a day of celebration on June 4, 1926. The celebration set for each November was to mark the signing of the armistice at the end of World War I at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918. In 1938, Congress made the day a legal holiday.

This changed in 1968 with the passage of the Uniforms Holiday Bill which moved the national celebration of Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day to Mondays. According to the Veterans Affairs Web site, at the time, it was thought extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Veterans Day was celebrated under the act for seven years. On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.

In observance of the 2002 holiday, federal, state and local government offices will be closed Monday.

Public school, community college and college students are off for the day and no postal delivery or other services will be available Monday, with the exception of express mail.

The only governmental employees on the job will be in public safety fields. Sheriff's deputies will be on patrol as usual and fire and paramedic crews will work throughout Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

Snow plows and other emergency crews are on call for the holiday.

Public libraries will be closed and will reopen Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Most banks are closed, but area chamber of commerce officials say retail stores will be open for business along with restaurants and grocery stores.

State Veterans Services Director Chuck Fulkerson said a number of events are scheduled to honor veterans, including the annual parade in Virginia City at 11 a.m. Monday.

A ceremony in Mills Park at 2 p.m. is planned to rededicate memorials to deceased Vietnam veterans. A parade will be staged in downtown Reno.

Fulkerson said the movable wall listing the names of those who died in Vietnam will be open to the public throughout the weekend at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno.

Outgoing Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa will speak at the wall at 10 a.m. Monday.


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