National Veterans Day:
The day also known as armistice day is celebrated on November 11. National Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the United States. It is celebrated for honoring the military veterans who are serving the United States Armed Forces. Veterans day commemorates all the veterans of all the wars fought till today.
|2021||11th November||Thursday||United States|
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Why National Veterans Day?
The day is celebrated to honor veterans serving selflessly, with compassion, willingness, and love for the country. The day intends to be thankful to the living veterans who have served the country and sacrificed for national security’s well-being.
According to the Veterans Department of United States, on November 11, 1918, after the end of World War I, an armistice was formed between Germany and the Allied Forces of World War I to end the war and perpetuate peace and mutual understanding amongst the nations; thus the day was called as the Armistice Day.
On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson addressed people of the United States about the heroism of Americans who died during the war to render peace. From 1941 to 1945, Americans served in World War II and fought against Korea, which required mobilizing the soldiers, sailors, and airforce.
In 1954, Veterans Day replaced Armistice Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, honoring those who survived and those who died while serving in World War II. People wear red poppies on this day, as it became a tradition with a poem “In Flanders Field” written by John McCrae, a Canadian Officer who saw poppies blooming over the grave of the soldier.
Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill in 1968, effective in 1971, leading to the celebration of Veterans Day from 11 November to the fourth Monday of October. In 1975, President Gerald Ford announced the Veterans Day to November 11 again due to the historical significance.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held every year at Arlington National Cemetery, also called Tombs of Unknown. Three soldiers are buried here – one from the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War, respectively. These soldiers are “unknown” because they could not be identified when they died. They represent all unknown American soldiers. The Tomb is guarded around the clock by members of the Army every day of the year. Every year exactly at 11 ‘o’clock, the wreath-laying ceremony is held at the Tomb of Unknowns.
During the Veterans Day National Ceremony, a wreath is placed at the Tomb, usually by the United States president. A bugler plays “Taps.” Then veterans march with flags in a “parade of colors,” and speeches honoring the veterans are given. Members of the military, the families and friends of some of those buried at Arlington, and many regular American citizens attend this ceremony to show their respect for the veterans.
Americans all across the country celebrate the day of veterans in many different ways. People display American flags outside their homes and offices. Veterans march in parades through our cities and towns. Parades are being organized across the major cities such as New York City, Dallas, and San Diego. During the church services or football games, veterans are asked to stand, and the crowd honors them with applause and cheer them up.
Musicians play concerts of patriotic music. People attend “freedom festivals” and fairs. Fireworks light up the skies. Some restaurants offer free meals to veterans. And lots of people wear poppies pinned to their shirts or jackets. In schools, special events and programs are held for the veterans. Students proudly honor family members and friends who are veterans. Veterans day is about tribute to military veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces and is often confused with Memorial day which symbolizes, honor to those who died in service to the nation. If the holiday of November 11 falls on a non-working day that is either Saturday or Sunday, then a federal holiday is observed on Monday.
John McCrae, Lieutenant Colonel and a Canadian who was a brigade surgeon in the Allied artillery unit observed the growing clusters of red poppies from the military veteran’s grave. Struck by sight, he wrote a poem in which he described the buried soldier’s thoughts upon whose grave the red poppies were growing. The red poppies became the sign of faith and remembrance of sacrifices made by the veterans.
On August 4, 2001, the bill called United States Senate Resolution 143 was passed, which dedicated a whole week to the veterans from November 11 to November 17. It is referred to as National Veterans Awareness Week. The award called the National Veterans Award was also created to honor the most outstanding veterans who contributed to greater accomplishments towards the veteran organizations in the United States. An Army honor guard is kept for day and night vigil to honor those men who are the symbol of sacrifice, who gave their lives to protect their country and its people.
From 1775, Armed Forces members have had to fight in wars such as World Wars and assist in the uncountable number of disasters occurring in their nation. These brave men and women train their minds and bodies to be ready at a moment’s notice to defend and protect us. They love their country, their freedoms, and their people enough to risk their lives for their countrymen every day they serve in the military. This is why we honor the veterans. This is why we celebrate the day for veterans.
How Can We Celebrate National Veterans Day:
- Attend the parade and post pictures on social media with #NationalVeteransDay and fly the flag for the serving warriors.
- Listen to the veterans telling the stories about their experiences. Filming, recording, or writing down these stories makes a lasting legacy for our veterans and us.
- Companies can make charitable donations for disabled veterans, “honor flights” can be sponsored for them to send the veterans who were part of World War II, Korea, as well as the Vietnam war, to Washington D.C. so that they can see their national monuments.
- We can show our appreciation to active members of the military at any time of the year by writing letters, mailing packages, or simply saying “Thank you!”.
- Connect with the veterans, hug them, and a gentle smile of appreciation works wonders. You can also volunteer at the VA (Veterans Administration) hospital and spend the day with a veteran.
- At least two minutes of silence is observed at 11 am to honor and thank all the United States military officials who were part of the wars and those who are still serving the nation selflessly.
- This day is a chance to be thankful to people who risk their lives to defend the country and their countrymen of the United States. The majority of the veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder, and being valued for their services and sacrifices can make them feel valuable and important.
- We can consider hosting lunch for veterans in their honor and form comradeship among the teams and learn more about their times as a veteran.
- We must gift the military-themed gifts to the veterans; apparently, bottle openers, wooden United States flags, and specially designed and personalized pens are some of the gifts a veteran will adore immensely.
- If you know a veteran from your family, friends, or relatives, write them the postcard or an email thanking them for their services. You can also make a call and wish them a cheerful “Happy Veterans Day,” and you can ask about their time where they served, about their posting, and what kind of tasks were they supposed to do while serving the Armed Forces of the United States.
- We must emphasize their transferable skills on their journey from military to civilian and how the change has affected their lifestyle, hobbies, and interests. Always share their story, considering the respect and sensitivity of the information, about the sacrifices they made and accomplishments they achieved.
Interesting facts about National Veterans Day:
Here are some interesting veteran facts for you to enjoy the day:
- The armistice of World War I was signed on the eleventh hours of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
- General George Patton, the general of World War II commanding the U.S. Army, was born on 11th November.
- Most of the veterans in the United States live in California.
- Since 2018, there were 19.7 million veterans in the United States, out of which 2 million veterans were females.
- About 9 million veterans are more than the age of 65 years, and nearly about 6 million veterans receive disability compensation.
- In 1792, a pension plan was established by Congress for disabled veterans, which was legalized in 1818.
- Veterans day’s annual parade takes place at the 5th Avenue, Manhattan, including about 500,000-520,000 attendees.
- Henry Gunther from Baltimore was the last American soldier to be killed in World War I; he was killed 60 seconds before the armistice was signed.
- Nearly fewer than half-million veterans of World War II are alive today, and about 16 million people fought in the War. Some veterans were supposed to bring medical assistance, some provided relief during natural calamities.
- California, Texas, and Florida are the three states which have the maximum number of veterans, of about 1.65 million, 1.5 million, and 1.45 million veterans, respectively.
- The veterans tend to be highly educated, nearly 40% of veterans have completed higher education, including college and associate degrees, and 30% of the veterans tend to attain bachelor’s degrees.
- The unknown soldier who was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery from the Korean war was later identified as Michael Blassie, who was about the age of 24, a pilot shot dead near the border of Cambodia.
- Originally, veterans day was known as Armistice Day. In 1938, the national holiday was declared on Armistice Day, and In 1954, it was renamed Veterans Day.
- Raymond Weeks, a veteran of World War II, is known as the “Father of Veterans Day” by Elizabeth Dole.
- The civil war claimed 618,000 deaths as compared to World War II, which contains the number of approximately 416,000 deaths of American veterans.
- In 1953, Al King, owner of a shoe store, started a campaign that said to celebrate all veterans and not just those who served in World war I. His idea was taken up by Raymond Weeks, who now is recognized as the “Father of Veterans Day.”
- Veterans day is celebrated in other countries with different names outside the United States. In Canada, it is recognized as Remembrance day, and in the United Kingdom, it is observed as either Remembrance Day or Armistice Day.
History of National Veterans Day:
On November 11, 1918, at 11 am an armistice, or a temporary peace treaty, was signed at the end of World War I. After a year, President Woodrow Wilson announced November 11 as Armistice Day in the United States.
In the year 1938, the congressional act was approved, and Armistice Day became the national federal holiday which was dedicated to peace in the world and the veterans who fought in World War I.
Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, a veteran of World War II, proposed the celebration of Veterans Day instead of Armistice Day to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who immensely supported the idea of celebrating all the veterans who served the nation. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower Armistice Day was changed to Veteran Day as they wanted to honor all the veterans included in World War II and Korean War.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which was effective in 1971, leading to the celebration of Veterans Day from 11 November to the fourth Monday of October. Because of historical importance, in 1975, President Gerald Ford announced the Veterans Day to November 11 again.