What is the History of Veterans Day?

VeteransDay Blog 2

What is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is when we honor and pay our respect to all veterans for the sacrifices they made in defending and preserving this country’s freedom.   For Veteran’s Day, we want to mark this occasion with a heartfelt thank you to all of our customers who have served in the armed forces and their families.

Current Facts about Veterans Day:

  • There are approximately 23.2 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics available.
  • 2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
  • 9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
  • 8 million veterans are women.
  • 8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
  • 2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
  • 6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945).
  • 8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.

The History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day originated as a day to honor the veterans after World War I ended in 1918.  An armistice (ceasefire) was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.  This date became known as Armistice or Remembrance Day and its intention was to honor the soldiers that had served in World War I.

President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first Armistice Day in 1919 and veterans were remembered by a two minute moment of silence at 11am.  By 1938, Congress made “Armistice Day” an official federal holiday.  In 1954, Congress removed the word Armistice and replaced it with “Veterans”, to honor all veterans from any war.

Interestingly, in 1968, Congress changed Veterans Day from November 11th to the fourth Monday in October.  Congress had wanted the date moved in order to create a three day weekend for government employees.  However, so many people were upset with this that Congress moved Veterans Day back to November 11 in 1978.

Remember to Honor Veterans

Veterans-Day-Poem-Honor-Respect-Soldiers

How do we convey to our veterans the gratitude and gratefulness we have for their service to our country?  On November 11, many states, cities and municipalities will have parades and speeches to remember and honor them, but you could also say “thank you for your service” any time you see a veteran.

What’s some other ways to show your appreciation for veterans that have served our country?  CNN asked a few of them and their answer was to “Go beyond the holiday.”  This just means that there are more than one way to show your support.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Attend Veterans Day events in your community or volunteer to help at the VFW.
  • Send care packages and cards. Here are a few sites where you can check out programs about adopting soldiers:  Soldier’s Angels or Adopt a US Soldier.
  • If you’d like to send something that is about the personal power of prayer, then this Call to Prayer Figurine is a beautiful way to let your service member know you are thinking of them.

veterans-day-soldier-rememberance-figurine

  • Visit memorials, leave flowers or simply have a moment of silence to reflect on those who have sacrificed so much.
  • Donate to a military charity that is dedicated to helping veterans. You can make a donation to Semper Fi Fund which is an organization that provides assistance to those in the military that were wounded or injured.  You can also find other organizations that support soldiers such as Brown Paper Tickets Salutes, which donates free event tickets for all US military men and women and their families.
  • If you are a pet lover, find out how you can be a guardian angel for a soldier’s pet when they are deployed.

Continue to Educate Future Generations

In the news, we often read and hear about veterans that have served in the military, but are we losing sight of the importance their role played in defending our country?  As we move further away from the origination of Veterans Day, it’s important that future generations understand the meaning behind Veterans Day, what are the reasons why we have veterans and why it’s important to pay our respects to them.

We want our children and future leaders to be educated as to what this holiday means to the citizens and veterans of this country.  When we show pride in our country and choose to celebrate and honor veterans for their willingness to serve the common good, we are teaching by example.

For those in uniform that are serving today and have served in the past, we honor you today and every day.

America-gratitude-appreciation-veterans-quote

Image by Jeanne Sager

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