Every year in the US, we set aside November 11 to honor all of our veterans – those who served in combat and those who served in another capacity. Veterans from every branch of the military, from every era, those who are still with us and those who have passed on are honored on this day.
Veterans Day History
Veterans Day was first recognized in 1919 to commemorate the first anniversary of the end of WWI. Armistice Day, as it was called back then, didn’t become a national holiday until 1938.
Veterans Day isn’t just a randomly chosen day in November. It’s celebrated on the eleventh day of the eleventh month as a way to honor the end of WWI. We even celebrate on the 11th hour with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony begins by laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns and is followed by a parade and comments from dignitaries.
Interesting Facts About Veterans Day
- Veterans Day wasn’t always observed on November 11. For a short period in the late 60s and early 70s, we held Veterans Day on the fourth Monday in October. But once Gerald Ford took office, he changed the date back to November 11 because of its significance.
- Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and France all honor Veterans Day too (although Canada and Australia call it Remembrance Day). Each country has its own traditions and customs surrounding the day.
- The first Veterans Day parade was held in Birmingham, Alabama in 1947.
- The VA has a poster competition every year. This year’s winner can be found on the VA website.
Keep Veterans Day’s Meaning Alive All Year
Veterans Day is a great time to salute our vets, but there’s lots you can do to keep supporting our veterans all year. Acts like these are especially important in 2020, when many parades and other events will be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Participate in the Greenlight a Vet campaign—swap out an exterior light in your home with a green light bulb as a way of showing veterans that you’re always thinking of them.
- Send a care package through Operation Gratitude
- If you own a business, offer a veteran discount
- Support veteran owned businesses
- Contact your local VFW to see what your community needs locally
What are you doing to support the veterans in your community this year?