Veterans Day is an official United States federal holiday. Unlike many holidays, it is celebrated on its actual date which is Nov. 11, regardless of the day of the week the day falls on. The holiday is designed to honor persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces – commonly referred to as veterans. This holiday was originally in observance of Armistice Day which was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson for Nov. 11, 1919. He asserted that the day would be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service in World War I and with gratitude for the victory. In 1954, the holiday evolved into Veterans Day. According to the Gainesville Sun, the current form of the holiday has a number of closings to honor the day.
The United States Postal Services will be closed. Banks and credit unions will be closed. County, city and state offices throughout the United States will not be open. Basically, any governmental facility that does not involve emergency activities for the public will not be open on the holiday. Courthouses will be closed. Some public libraries will be closed, and persons should therefore check before traveling to the library – or any other public facility that has city, county, state or federal employees involved with its operation.
Additionally, some business are offering ‘freebies’ to veterans on the holiday, according to Post Crescent Media. Of course, it is always best to contact the business before going to ensure that it is participating in the Veterans Day ‘freebies.’ Some of the businesses reportedly offering ‘freebies’ are: Applebee’s offers a free meal; Chili’s offers a free lunch or dinner from a select menu though beverage is not included; Denny’s offers a free Grand Slam breakfast from 5 a.m. to noon; Friday’s gives a free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Golden Corral offers a dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.; Great Clips will give free haircuts, and any non-veteran who gets a haircut will get a card to give to a veteran or current military service member to get a free haircut through the end of the year; IHOP has free red, white and blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Olive Garden has free entrees from a special menu while friends and family dining with veterans will get 10 percent off their meals; Outback Steakhouse offers a free Bloomin’ Onion and a soda; Perkins Restaurant give a free “Magnificent Seven” breakfast any time of day; Red Robin offers a free Red’s Tavern Double burger; Texas Roadhouse offers a free lunch with soda or coffee from a special menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Again, please check ahead of time to see if your local business is engaging in the free offers.
Beyond the history, the closings and the free offers, like other national holidays in the United States, our patriotic music is in the spotlight via media and public events including Veterans Day parades. Linked to this article, here are ten of the most famous and best-loved patriotic songs in the history of the United States. Enjoy!
(After each title, the lyricist and music writer are listed; then, the performer or performers of each song’s video are acknowledged.)
Please click on the song titles to see and hear the You Tube video of each song.
The Ten Best Patriotic Songs in the United States
1. The Star Spangled Banner was a poem written by Francis Scott Key in 1814; Key set the poem to a modified musical version of a ‘drinking’ song called “Anacreontic Song” which was written by Britain John Stafford Smith. Though well-known years before, “The Star Spangled Banner” became the United States’ official National Anthem in 1931 by an act of the United States Congress. Sung by The Cactus Cuties.
2. My Country, ‘Tis of Thee was the United States’ first national anthem, adopted in 1931 before the “Star Spangled Banner.” It is a lyric written by Baptist clergyman Samuel Francis Smith in 1931 and thereafter set to the British National Anthem, “God Save the Queen.” Sung by Kelly Clarkson at President Obama’s Second Inauguration in 2013.
3. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a lyric written by Julia Ward Howe in 1861, set to a tune written several years before by William Steffe. Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
4. America the Beautiful was a poem written by Katharine Lee Bates in the 1880s, and Samuel A. Ward added the music to the words in the 1890s. Sung by Barbara Streisand.
5. God Bless America was written by Irving Berlin in 1918, then revised and recorded by Kate Smith twenty years later when the song and Kate Smith became very popular. Sung by Kate Smith.
6. The Stars and Stripes Forever, declared the United States’ National March by the United States Congress in 1987, was written in 1896 by John Philip Sousa, a Marine Band leader from 1880 to 1892, as well as a member of the Hall of Fame of Great Americans and an inductee into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Performed by The Marine Band.
7. Semper Fidelis, the official march of the United States Marine Corps, was written in 1888 by John Philip Sousa, a Marine Band leader from 1880 to 1892, as well as a member of the Hall of Fame of Great Americans and an inductee into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Performed by The Marine Band.
8. The Marine’s Hymn (From the Halls of Montezuma), the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps, was composed by Jacques Offenbach in the mid-1800s under another name and the lyricist is unknown. Sung by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
9. God Bless the USA written and originally recorded by country singer and songwriter Lee Greenwood in 1984. Sung by Lee Greenwood. This is the most contemporary of what are classified as classic patriotic songs.
10. This Land is Your Land was written by folk singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie. He wrote the lyrics in 1940 to one of his previous melodies as a negative response to “God Bless America” because he was tired of hearing it. Sung by Woody Guthrie.
In honor of Fred Paulson, my father, a WWII veteran.