While some Americans see Veterans Day as simply another day off work – especially those employed by government – others are putting extra effort into highlighting the holiday, hoping to honor those who have served in the U.S. military. In Missouri, for example, a new state law requires every public school to set aside at least a class period's worth of time this week to commemorate veterans. The same law, reports the Park Hills Daily Journal, makes any veteran who left high school to enter the military eligible to apply for an honorary diploma. WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla., reports the high number of military personnel deployed overseas has made it difficult for event organizers to find troops and equipment to participate in Veterans Day parades. Some cities in South Florida are depending on Boy Scouts and other nonmilitary marchers to fill the gaps, the station said. In a White House proclamation honoring the holiday, President George W. Bush said, "The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude. On this, our Nation's 50th annual Veterans Day observance, we celebrate and honor the patriots who have fought to protect the democratic ideals that are the foundation of our country." Directed the president: "I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate ceremonies and prayers." Many national and local organizations focus on veterans all year long, not just on Veterans Day. Military.com bills itself as "the largest online military destination," offering "free resources to serve, connect, and inform the 30 million Americans with military affinity: active duty personnel, retirees, veterans, reservists, guard members, defense workers, family members, and those considering military careers." Among Military.com's service to the veteran community is providing information about scholarships, benefits and jobs. With over 3 million members, Military.com also helps veterans with VA home loans and teaches them how to take advantage of the GI Bill to cover educational expenses. The site even helps military personnel and veterans buy cars. The site is sponsored by Military Advantage, "a company committed to the mission of connecting the military community to all the advantages earned in service to America." Veterans Day was originally called "Armistice Day" and honored the veterans of World War I. In 1954, Congress and President Dwight Eisenhower declared Nov. 11 a national holiday – Veterans Day. Although in the late '60s the federal government moved Veterans Day to the nearest Monday to give employees a three-day weekend, President Gerald Ford signed a law in 1975 that returned the observance to Nov. 11.
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