Veterans Day Facts
While both Veterans Day and Memorial Day are Federal holidays which honor those who have served the United States Armed Forces and prior to that in the Civil War, the American holiday known as Veterans Day pays tribute to all American war veterans, living or dead. The focus of this day is very much on the veterans who are still with us and to their service and sacrifice.
Veterans Day Dates and Facts
- Veterans Day was first known as Armistice Day, which was the first anniversary of the end of World War 1, “The War to End All Wars.” That day was November 11, 1918. The original purpose of Armistice Day was to celebrate world peace. Then the wars never ended, so the nature, meaning and purpose of the day that became known as Veterans Day changed.
- This day, November 11, became a national holiday in 1938.
- It was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954, as Armistice Day was associated only with the armed servicemen and women in World War 1.
- There are 16.1 million living veterans in the USA who served in at least one war.
- The major American wars in which American men and women were involved are World War 1 and World War 2, the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and more recently, the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars which are ongoing and in which American members of the US Armed Forces still serve.
- Veterans Day honors all military personnel, in war and peacetime.
- Canada, Australia also honor their veterans each year on November 11, calling this day “Remembrance Day.” Great Britain honors all their armed forces on the nearest Sunday to November 11, calling this day “Remembrance Sunday.”
- Although Federal Government agencies close on this day, state and local governments, including schools, are not required to close.
We didn’t mention how Veterans Day is observed: with parades and ceremonies saluting those who are living and laying wreaths and offering prayers to departed soldiers. Whatever your plans, take a moment on this American holiday to say thanks to servicemen and women not only here but everywhere.