What is Veterans Day? Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the United States. It honors all veterans both living and deceased who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States for all wars and during peacetime. It is held on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which is Nov. 11.
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day to celebrate the end of World War I. In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed “Armistice” to “Veterans,” making it a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
There are times when Veterans Day is confused with Memorial Day. The difference is that Memorial Day is a day when we honor our military men and women who died in service of our country. On Veterans Day, we honor all American veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, either in war or during times of peace. It is a day especially intended to thank our living veterans for their service.
There are many ways we can honor our veterans on Veterans Day and throughout the year.
The following are a few samples of how to show your support:
- Fly our American flag which shows not only patriotism but also support of our veterans.
- Attend your town’s parades or ceremonies.
- Donate to organizations that assist our veterans with housing, education, job opportunities, and medical care. Some of the organizations are the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
- But the simplest way is to just say “Thank You” to a veteran and their family for their service. Let them know that we care and support them.
The United States shows our support each year by having an official wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb contains the remains of one unidentified soldier from World War I, and later, unknown soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the regiment known as “The Old Guard.”
At 11 a.m. on this date, the President of the United States places a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier. When the wreath is placed on the tomb, a bugle sounds.
The tomb itself has a white marble sarcophagus with three Greek figures on the side representing peace, victory, and valor. There are also six wreaths, three sculpted on each side, which represent the six major campaigns of World War I. On the back on the tomb, there is an inscription that reads: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”
Each year there is a theme for Veterans Day. For 2023, the theme is “Forever Honor,” which serves as a reminder that we should never forget our veterans and that we should always honor them and their families.
When you are enjoying your day off, attending parades and ceremonies or visiting memorial sites for our veterans, take along your children and show them the real meaning of Veterans Day and what the importance of supporting our veterans means. Our children will carry on the future support of our veterans.
God bless our veterans and may God continue to bless the United States of America.