Celebrating Veterans Day
Armistice Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day, the purpose for these days seem to confuse many Americans. Armistice Day and Veterans Day are essentially the same. Armistice Day became a legal holiday in 1938 to honor the end of World War I and the men and women who served. However, in 1954 after World War II and the Korean War Congress changed the original wording in the legislation from “Armistice” to “Veterans.” Therefore, November 11 officially became known as “Veterans Day.”
In 1968, Congress, in an effort to give federal employees an extra 3-day weekend, changed Veterans Day to the last Monday in October. Many veterans’ organizations did not like this and in 1975 Veterans Day was returned to November 11.
What is the distinction between Veterans Day and Memorial Day? Memorial Day is to honor veterans who died in service to their country either during battle or as a result of injuries that occurred during battle. Although deceased veterans are remembered on Veterans Day, it is primarily to honor living veterans.
Here are some additional facts about Veterans Day. In other countries, Veterans Day is called Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. The song, “God Bless America” was first sung by Kate Smith in 1938 on Veterans Day at the New York World’s Fair. The Veterans Administration motto, “to care for him (any veteran) who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan” is a quote from President Abraham Lincoln. There were 48 stars on the American flag when Veterans Day become a national holiday. (Beckett, 2009)
A quote from my Daddy sums it quite well, “A debt of eternal gratitude is owed to veterans, past, present and future by we the citizens of this great country and thus we honor you on this Veterans Day.” – Lawrence Tillmon