Happy Veterans’ Day! In the USA, Veterans’ Day annually falls on November 11. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veteran’s Day, with speeches and parades across the country.
We’d like to share some facts you may not know about this very-important holiday.
- The holiday began as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
- In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance.
- In 1938, Nov. 11 became a national holiday.
- In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name to Veterans' Day in order to honor veterans of all American wars.
- On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. It is called the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. An official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans' Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Usually the president, or another high-ranking government official, lays the wreath on the grave.
- Veterans' Day should not be confused with Memorial Day. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans--living or dead--but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.”
There are things you can do in your own community to show your thanks and support for the troops. Here are some ideas.
- Fly our flag outside your home, even if it’s just for one day. If you don’t normally fly the flag, people will realize what it’s all about. If you fly the flag every day, maybe there’s something you can do to make it stand out more, without defacing it.
- If you see a soldier in uniform, take a minute to stop to thank them. They risk their lives for us to enjoy our freedoms. If you know someone who has retired from the service, thank them as well.
- Make a care package to send to the troops overseas. Packages of books, candy, magazines…they’ll enjoy it all. Visit www.anysoldier.com, www.give2thetroops.org, and www.opgratitude.com.
- Write a letter to, and become pen pals with, a soldier stationed overseas right now. Having contact with someone back home in the States is a great reminder and morale booster.
- Donate blood to the Armed Service Blood Program (www.militaryblood.dod.mil). Unlike the Red Cross who gives blood to anyone who needs it, the ASBP is strictly for the United States military.
Regardless of where you stand politically, or where you stand on the war, our veterans and our troops deserve nothing less than your utmost respect every day. This is a day meant to honor them and their sacrifices, but it shouldn’t be limited to just one day. We should do it every day. Remember them. Honor them.