Veterans Day is a federal holiday, but, at Harvard classes go on. This year, the holiday is observed for staff, but we'll be teaching.
I can't easily find out when the practice of having classes on Veterans Day became standard. I found this Crimson article from 2004, but it makes it sound like holding classes (it seems to just mention sections, not actual lectures) was not official policy. I also am not sure when this dichotomy of the day being a staff holiday, but classes are held, started. I'm a bit embarrassed to say I haven't noticed this scheduling issue until this year, so perhaps the changes are new.
I understand that, from a teaching and scheduling standpoint, it's a bit annoying with the holidays messing up the teaching schedule. It's also annoying when your children are out of school for the day for a federal holiday while you have to teach. Also, it seems a bit odd, if not somewhat unpatriotic, "cancelling" Veterans Day for the students (and faculty), although I know that most people generally do not engage in veteran-specific activities for the holiday. (That's true of our family, and my wife is a veteran.)
I suppose I might not really have thought too much about it, except that somehow I noticed that Columbus Day is a university holiday at Harvard, and, because I'm sure most readers do not get enough John Oliver in their diet, here what his show has to say about that.
Happy Veterans Day.