Veteran’s Day is a day to honor, remember, and give thanks

11 11 2011

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the “war to end all wars” – World War I – ended. A year later, President Wilson issued a proclamation recognizing Armistice Day as a day of remembrance and honor for those who died in the name of service to the United States. Thus, the beginning of what is now known as Veteran’s Day in the United States and is still remembered as Armistice Day throughout the world.

Although the day began as a way to honor the fallen of World War I, in 1954 the official U.S. holiday became known as Veteran’s Day in recognition of World War II and the number of military personnel who served during that war. Veteran’s Day became a holiday that honors the service of all veterans of war of the soldiers who fought in World War II and to recognize all members of the armed forces who served in war. Unlike other federal holidays that are tied to the closest Monday, Veteran’s Day is always observed on November 11 to preserve the historical significance of the date and to acknowledge the men and women who fought, and often died, in service of the United States of America.

Throughout the world, particularly in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand, the day is observed as Remembrance Day with moments of silence, laying of wreaths at memorials and cemeteries, parades and other tributes to veterans of all wars. The red poppy flower is commonly worn as in memory and honor of war dead. According to www.greatwar.co.uk, the flower was common around the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium, Gallipoli in Turkey, and elsewhere, so it came to symbolize the life that sprang forth from these places of death of destruction after war’s end.

Communities large and small recognize Veteran’s Day, making it very easy to participate in the holiday. Visit a military cemetery, attend a local remembrance ceremony, participate in a tribute, or spend time with a veteran and tell him or her how much you appreciate their service.

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