John F. Kennedy
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
“America without her soldiers would be like God without his angels.”
“There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.”
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.”
“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Needless to say, we have a lot of things we could thank a vet for; from our freedoms to our safety, there are many factors at play for each of those things, and veterans and active duty military are to thank for it. What you may not know is how we started honoring them, and how as a country, that became a thing. We’ve gathered information on the history of Veterans Day, so you’ll know how this was started, and why it’s important to celebrate.
Veterans Day is more than just another holiday meant to spend time with family and friends. It’s a day to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans, those who are no longer with us, and those who are. This holiday is not to be confused with Memorial Day. While we certainly never discourage you from thanking a vet, please keep in mind that Memorial Day is to honor those who have fallen during active duty. They made the ultimate sacrifice, and Memorial Day is there to remember those who gave up everything. That’s why the history of Veterans Day is so important, so you can distinguish between the two, and also know why we honor our vets on this day.
Veterans Day was formerly known as Armistice Day and was first set to honor the end of World War I, which was on November 11, 1918. In 1938, Armistice Day, or November 11, was dedicated to the cause of world peace, and was essentially meant to honor the veterans who had fought in World War I. In 1954, it was decided by Congress, after two more wars, that the day would be called Veterans Day moving forward. This was approved on June 1, 1954 and since then, this has been a day to honor all American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, there was a bill introduced that ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays. Veterans Day, under this bill, was moved to the fourth Monday of October, and this law caused much confusion as Veterans Day was honored on October 25, 1971, yet many states kept the original date and celebration then. In 1975, President Ford signed a new law that put Veterans Day back to its original date of November 11, and it has remained the same since then.
Now that you know the history of Veteran’s Day, you can more easily honor your local veterans, whether they served in times of war or peace. While these soldiers may not have given up the ultimate sacrifice, they were prepared to do so, and deserve our respect and honor for what they did give up. Rather than taking this extra day off from work or school to go shopping or go on a vacation, instead dedicate your day to veterans. They dedicated much more than one day, and now it’s our chance to honor our veterans for the sacrifice they gave to us. One way to do this is by donating time or money to a local organization that helps veterans or raising awareness of different causes that can affect veterans in your town. Another way is to sit down with some at a retirement home and listen to their stories. No matter how you plan on celebrating it, it’s important to know the history of Veterans Day and understand why we honor those who have served.
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