Veterans Day: Celebrated annually on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I

ARLINGTON, Va. -- On Friday, four days after a volatile election, America pauses to remember our heroic veterans. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

It's the most symbolic of observances on Veterans Day. (Scroll down for more candid pictures from the moving ceremony in Washington.)

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In the Kansas City metro area, hundreds of veterans and their families gathered at the National World War One Museum.  The Kansas City Symphony Chorus and local American Legion Band provided patriotic tunes. U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II spoke and his speech turned briefly political. He said he did not support President-elect Trump, but said if we as a nation want to truly honor veterans, we must unite. And, he said moving to Canada is not an option.

"We do need to stay and find a way to respect other people's opinions. I don't mind political differences. I do mind derision and disrespect," he said.

At 2:00 p.m., Friday, the ceremonies at Liberty Memorial continue when nearly 100 new bricks will be dedicated at the Walk of Honor ceremony.


Things to know about our veterans and Veterans Day:

There are 18.8 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics available.

There are 1.6 million female veterans.

There are 9.3 million veterans over the age of 65.

Timeline: November 11, 1918 - The armistice ending World War I begins at 11 am.

1919 - President Woodrow Wilson proclaims November 11 as Armistice Day.

November 11, 1921 - The first Unknown Soldier is reburied at Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb has the words inscribed, "Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God."

May 13, 1938 - Armistice Day becomes a federal holiday.

June 1, 1954 - President Dwight Eisenhower signs a bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to include all US veterans.

May 30, 1958 - Unknown Soldiers from World War II and the Korean War are reburied next to the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

1968 - Congress changes the date of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October in order to give federal employees a three-day weekend. The change begins in 1971.

September 25, 1975 - President Gerald Ford changes the date of Veterans Day back to November 11. The change begins in 1978.

May 28, 1984 - An unknown soldier from the Vietnam War is reburied in Arlington National Cemetery. In 1998, he is identified through DNA tests as Michael Blassie, a 24-year-old pilot shot down in 1972 on the border of Cambodia.

(American Community Survey, 2015)