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Veterans Day: Honoring Our Military (Photos)
Friday, November 11th, 2011

Veterans’ Day, a US holiday set aside to honor American troops, seems particularly poignant this year, as a seven-year war in Iraq and a decade of fighting in Afghanistan wind down.

This year, there is also another milestone to note. This will be the first Veterans’ Day that gays and lesbians can serve openly in the military and be recognized for their service.

The US government chose Nov. 11 to commemorate the day Germany surrendered in World War I, once known as “The War to End All Wars.” Later, as America returned to war again and again, Nov. 11 became a day to honor all American troops, wherever they served.

These days, the US has a new generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fighting under the American flag.

The conflicts are in different parts of the world now, and the weapons and uniforms are more advanced.

The sacrifices these men and women make, however, remain as great as ever. 

Take a moment to remember them all.

Editor's Note: Images will be updated throughout the day as national ceremonies progress. 

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Reniah Krause, 2, clings to her father Sgt. Joseph Krause after he and fellow soldiers arrived from Afghanistan to Fort Carson, Colorado. June 15, 2011. More than 500 soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team returned home following a year of heavy fighting in Afghanistan.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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The early morning sun begins to rise behind the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Nov. 11, 2004. The 17th annual Veterans Day Parade along with many other Veterans Day events will take place in the Washington area Friday.

(Mark Wilson - AFP/Getty Images)
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U.S. Army soldiers pose for a photo at a welcome home ceremony for troops returning from Iraq on in Fort Carson, Colorado. November 10, 2011.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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Ice covers a rose resting along the headstone of US Army Private First Class Kenneth E. Zeigler II following an overnight ice storm at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Jan. 18, 2011.

(Saul Loeb - AFP/Getty Images)
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Vietnam veteran Lyle Hurley of Woodbridge, Virginia is reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during ceremonies to mark The Wall's 25th anniversary on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Nov. 7, 2007.

(Chip Somodevilla - AFP/Getty Images)
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Unemployed U.S. Air Force veteran Tracy McConner, 45, registers at the Military and Veterans Employment Expo in Golden, Colorado. May 24, 2011. The event was aimed to help combat the high unemployment rate among veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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Soldiers from Ft. Lee, Virginia help mark Veterans Day ceremonies at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. Nov. 11, 2011.

(Win McNamee - AFP/Getty Images)
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U.S. Army Sgt. Steven Curry, who had part of his leg removed after losing half his foot in Iraq, watches demonstrations of prosthetics at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. June 1, 2007.

(Brendan Smialowski - AFP/Getty Images)
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Mementos are left on top of the headstone of U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Nicolas Paradarodriguez on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Nov. 11, 2010. Paradarodriguez died May 16, 2010 in Afghanistan.

(Win McNamee - AFP/Getty Images)
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Frank Squirrel, U.S. Army Korean War veteran and member of the Cherokee Nation Color Guard, looks on before the start of the annual Veterans Day parade in New York City. Nov. 11, 2009.

(Mario Tama - AFP/Getty Images)
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People march in the annual Veterans Day parade in New York City. Nov. 11, 2006.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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US President Barack Obama walks through section 60, the burial sites of the war dead from Iraq and Afghanistan, after participating in Veterans Day events at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Nov. 11, 2009.

(Tim Sloan - AFP/Getty Images)
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A young woman lays down on the grave of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Noah Pier on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. May 31, 2010. Pier was killed Feb. 12, 2010 in Marja, Afghanistan.

(Chip Somodevilla - AFP/Getty Images)
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US soldiers gather near a destroyed vehicle and protect their faces from rotor wash, as their wounded comrades are airlifted by a Medevac helicopter from the 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder to Kandahar Hospital Role 3. Aug. 23, 2011.

(Johannes Eisele - AFP/Getty Images)
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Flags are passed out to members of the U.S. Army Old Guard to be place at gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. May 27, 2010.

(Mark Wilson - AFP/Getty Images)
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Senior Airman Bryan Kondub kneels beside the grave of a fallen soldier at the Cambridge American Cemetery after a remembrance service in Madingley, United Kingdom. Nov. 11, 2011. The American Cemetery at Madingley is the only American WWII burial ground in England.

(Dan Kitwood - AFP/Getty Images)
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Veteran Philip Malins, aged 92, stands next to his mobility scooter as he takes part in the two minute silence at the National Memorial Arboretum on Armstice day in Alrewas, United Kingdom. Nov. 11, 2011.

(Christopher Furlong - AFP/Getty Images)
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Members of the New York City chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and dozens of other uniformed veterans known as "Veterans of the 99%" pause in front of the New York Stock Exchange while marching from Vietnam Veterans Plaza to Zucotti Park where the Occupy Wall Street movement is centered. Nov. 2, 2011.

(Spencer Platt - AFP/Getty Images)
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Chris Brown holds a portrait of his friend, U.S. Army Spc. Raymond N. Spencer, Jr., who was killed in battle in Shula, Iraq, during the annual Veterans Day parade in New York City. Nov. 11, 2010.

(Mario Tama - AFP/Getty Images)
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US President Barack Obama (2R) salutes during the dignified transfer of Sergeant Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana, at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware. Oct. 29, 2009.

(Saul Loeb - AFP/Getty Images)
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Soldiers of 256 Squadron of The Royal Signals clean and prepare The Basra Wall ahead of Armistice Day at The National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. Nov. 7, 2011.

(Christopher Furlong - AFP/Getty Images)
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A fallen soldiers memorial attended by U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in Fort Hood, Texas. Nov. 10, 2009.

(Joe Raedle - AFP/Getty Images)
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The sun rises as the changing of the guard takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Aug. 26, 2009.

(Tim Sloan - AFP/Getty Images)
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