Today's Google Doodle Commemorates Veterans Day

The Google Doodle for today, November 11, marks Veterans Day, which was formerly known as Armistice Day. It is also known as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations.

The annual holiday commemorates the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918, and honors all those who have served in the military.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday, so most government offices are closed on the day, while some private businesses may also be shut in observance of the day.

Ahead of Veterans Day on November 9, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation stating: "On Veterans Day, we honor their service, dedication, and valor and are forever grateful for their sacrifice.

"I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor, courage, and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate ceremonies and private prayers," Biden stated.

Veterans Day 2021

The theme of this year's Veterans Day is centered around the centennial commemoration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The tomb, located in Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery, was initially dedicated by the army on Armistice Day on November 11 in 1921, with the burial of an unknown service member from World War I.

The past century has seen other unknown soldiers be buried at the tomb and the site has become "a people's memorial that inspires reflection on service, valor, sacrifice and mourning," the department says.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier surrounded by flowers during a centennial commemoration event at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on November 10, 2021. Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

A Brief History of Veterans Day

In 1919, former president Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first Armistice Day.

His proclamation stated: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..."

November 11 was made a legal holiday by Congress in 1938. Following pressure from veterans service organizations, in 1954 the word "Armistice" was replaced with "Veterans" and Veterans Day became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

The signing of the Uniforms Holiday Bill in 1968 ensured three-day weekends for federal workers by observing four national holidays on Mondays (Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day).

The U.S. Government Publishing Office website explains: "Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on their original dates. With much confusion, the first Veterans Day under the new law was observed on October 25, 1971."

But in September 1975, former president Gerald R. Ford signed a law that returned the annual observance of Veterans Day back to its original November date and Veterans Day holiday has been observed on November 11 since then.

A 2018 Veterans Day ceremony in Arlington,Virginia.
Members of the U.S. Honor Guard seen during a 2018 Veterans Day ceremony held at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Al Drago/Getty Images

The graphic below, produced by Statista, illustrates the number of veterans in the U.S. by period of service (2010-2019).

A graphic showing veterans in the U.S.
STATISTA