Holidays & Events

A Veterans Day Message and Some History, Too

A Veterans Day Message and Some History, Too

contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer

Happy Veterans Day 2021! Here is a little bit of holiday history and a Veterans Day Message from Military Connection.

Veterans Day History

What is Veterans Day, when is Veterans Day, and which Veterans does it honor? The answers to these questions have changed quite a bit over the past 100 years, or so. Who knew a national holiday could carry with it so much drama over the years?? Here’s how it all went down. 

1918: Armistice Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Allied Nations and Germany signed an armistice agreeing to cease combat, effectively ending World War I. Beginning on November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was celebrated with parades, public gatherings, and moments of remembrance in schools and businesses. 

1919: Treaty of Versailles

The thing is – the war didn’t technically end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed nearly eight months after fighting ended. Armistice Day was intended to honor WWI Vets and the conclusion of the war. So, after the treaty was signed, there were years of disagreement about which date should be officially recognized as the end of the war. 

1926: Decision Made

A few years later, in 1926, Congress concluded that the official day of recognition would be held on the date the armistice was signed. So, Armistice Day continued to be celebrated on November 11th. Note: by this time, 27 states had already begun to recognize Armistice Day – November 11th – as a legal holiday.

1954: Name Change

Of course, Armistice Day was intended to honor those who served in WWI, but fast forward a few decades and both World War II and the Korean War had begun and ended. Congress now found themselves in a conundrum. How were we to honor the brave men and women who fought for their country during these subsequent conflicts? 

So, in 1954 the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day.” Salutes, parades, ceremonies, and other methods of honoring WWI Veterans now extended to all American Veterans regardless of the war in which they served. 

1968: The Uniform Monday Holiday Act

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which recognized four federal holidays, including Veterans Day, on Mondays. Therefore, beginning in this year, Veterans Day was to be recognized on the fourth Monday in October. 

As one might imagine, this caused frustration for those who had celebrated Armistice or Veterans Day on November 11th for nearly fifty years. Many states even continued to hold their celebrations on November 11th out of respect for historical and patriotic significance of Veterans Day, meaning there wasn’t a cohesive view on the holiday for some time.  

1975: One Last Change

Eventually, in 1975, Congress agreed to change the date of Veterans Day back to November 11th. This change took place in 1978.

2021: Here We Are

So, there you have it. And here we are, 103 years after the end of the Great War, celebrating Veterans Day 2021 on Thursday, November 11th

A Few More Veterans Day Facts

Veterans Day is Different from Memorial Day

Many confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day, but they are two very different holidays. Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is intended as a day of remembrance for those who died for our country, specifically those who lost their lives due to injuries suffered in battle. The Veterans Day message, on the other hand, is intended to honor all who have served their country in times of both war and peace.  

Veterans Day in Other Countries

The U.S. isn’t the only country to recognize their Veterans on November 11th. Remember, the history of many other countries was also impacted when that armistice was signed back in 1918. Great Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the Veterans of World War I on or near November 11th

Veterans Today

A few interesting facts about the current Veteran population of the U.S.:

  • There are 19 million living veterans in the United States, today.
  • Roughly 11% of American Vets are women.
  • There are 6.1 million living Veterans who served during the Vietnam war. They are also recognized on Vietnam War Veterans Day each year.
  • 3 million service men and women have served in the middle east since September 11, 2001.
  • Of the 16 million Veterans who served in WWII, roughly 240,000 are still alive.
  • A total of 2 million American men and women served during the Korean War. We also recognize these Veterans on National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

How to Honor Veterans Day

Our nations Veterans are so deserving of respect, honor, and recognition every day of the year. But Veterans Day is the perfect opportunity to go out of our way to celebrate these special men and women. Here are a few ways to do just that. 

  • Attend the Veterans Day Wreath Laying at Arlington National Cemetery. Anyone can attend this ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier each year.
  • Visit a Veterans Hospital. There are VA hospitals all over the country full of Veterans who could use some special care, appreciation, and maybe even some cheering up. A few hours of time and attention can really go a long way.
  • Support Veteran owned businesses. This is an action Americans can take every day of the year, and Veterans Day is the perfect time to go out of our way to do so. Visit the American Veteran Owned Business Association’s Business Directory for a list of Veteran owned companies by category or location.
  • Offer Veterans Day deals. If you happen to oversee business operations, consider offering a discount to Veterans on November 11th, or any other day of the year. Here is a list of several companies’ current Veterans Day deals and offerings for inspiration.
  • Share this or any other Veterans Day post on social media using #VeteransDay or #VeteransDay2021.
  • Check with 65+ year old veterans to find out if they’re aware of a little-known VA benefit called “Aid and Attendance.” The benefit can be used for assistance bathing, dressing, light housekeeping, transportation and more. Learn more at veteranshomecare.com.

A Veterans Day Message from Military Connection

Military Connection would like to offer a huge Veterans Day thank you to all of our Nation’s Veterans, fallen soldiers, and their families. We honor your sacrifices, both past and present, and you mean the world to us. Thank you for your service.

lauren

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