You’re probably familiar with Veterans Day and when it is celebrated. But what is it really about? What is the history of Veterans Day and what should you know about it? Here are some facts about this holiday honoring our veterans.
What is Veterans Day?
Every November 11th, Veterans Day is celebrated as a national holiday. It is a date to remember all of those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
The History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day was not always known by this title. In fact, when it was created in 1938 and known as Armistice Day. It was to honor the end of World War I. That took place on the very day, November 11th, in 1918. The legislation was passed and it was then a legal holiday.
According to Military.com:
In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
What you may not know is that it was moved to the fourth Monday in October due to the Uniforms Holiday Bill, which was a three-day holiday for federal employees. There were four holidays included that were Memorial Day, Washington’s Birthday, Columbus Day, and of course – Veterans Day. However, this brought about a lot of confusion on the days and such so in 1975 the reigning president Ford made it back to its original date on the 11th of November each year.
Facts About Veterans Day
There are a few things about Veterans Day that may not be common knowledge. Just like some of the history of the date above.
One is the placement of a comma. Many people still write or type Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day. You may even see it in advertisements. Actually, since it is meant to honor all veterans, there is never a comma warranted or needed.
For living veterans, it can be frustrating that so many people mix up Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember those who died for their country. Hence, the inclusion of the word memorial. Veterans Day honors them all – those who served their country – both dead or alive.
Another fact is mentioned in the history with it being originally called Armistice Day. That, and the date changes that happened back in the 1970s. One of the reasons for the aforementioned three-day weekend was to stimulate the economy. If people had a three-day weekend off, they might travel or do things that led to buying things.
You may not know that the United States is not the only country that celebrates Veterans Day. It is simply called by another name. It makes sense if you think about it since World War I involved multiple countries.
According to the government’s defense site:
Canada and Australia both call Nov. 11 “Remembrance Day.” Canada’s observance is pretty similar to our own, except many of its citizens wear red poppy flowers to honor their war dead. In Australia, the day is more akin to our Memorial Day.
Great Britain calls it “Remembrance Day,” too, but observes it on the Sunday closest to Nov. 11 with parades, services and two minutes of silence in London to honor those who lost their lives in war.
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What You Can Do To Honor Veterans on Veterans Day
Whether someone you love is a veteran or you simply want to honor all veterans, there are a few things you can do.
Treat Them To a Meal
Offer to take a veteran you know out to lunch or coffee. Many restaurants even offer free meals for veterans but there is nothing like being asked and having company with someone who appreciates you and your service. Stripes is a good place to look for participating businesses that offer free meals on Veterans Day. It doesn’t mean that you have to ask someone out for a meal they would get free anyway but it is an ideal way to take out a family member even if your finances aren’t up to the task.
Offer To Help
Many older veterans may be alone and it is nice to get an offer of help from someone. Whether it’s running an errand or helping out around the house, show that they are appreciated by using some of your time to help. If you do not have physical time to help, send or drop off a care package.
Attend Parades and Festivities
Parades are perfect for the entire family to enjoy so why not honor veterans by showing your support at parades and events? It’s not only a fun way to honor someone but it shows the veterans that they are supported.
Make a Donation/Support Veteran Owned Companies
There are plenty of areas to make donations that are related to veterans. If you are not in the financial position to donate, try to at least support veteran-owned companies. You may see businesses or restaurants that state that they are veteran owned and can choose them to frequent.
Offer a Thank You
Even if you cannot offer your time or pay for a meal, just say thank you to a veteran you know – or even those you don’t know personally.
It is important to recognize and honor our veterans who have served our country in the Armed Forces. With a little background on what Veterans Day is and its history, hopefully you have a better understanding of why it should be an honor to honor them.