As we commemorate and honor our nation’s veterans, let’s take a moment to learn some interesting facts about Veterans Day.
Origins of Veterans Day: Originally known as Armistice Day, this holiday was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, marking the end of World War I. However, after World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all American veterans.
Date of Celebration: While Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11th every year, it wasn’t always the case. From 1971 to 1977, this holiday was observed on the fourth Monday in October. However, it was moved back to November 11th on President Gerald Ford’s request, as it holds special significance being the anniversary of the end of World War I.
The Poppy Connection: Red poppies have been associated with Veterans Day since its inception. The flower became a symbol of remembrance for soldiers who lost their lives in war after Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915.
A National Holiday: Unlike Memorial Day, which is a federal holiday, Veterans Day was not made an official holiday until 1938. It has since been a national holiday to honor all veterans who served our country.
Veterans Affairs Department: The US Department of Veterans Affairs was initially known as the Veterans Bureau, established in 1930 to provide benefits and support for World War I veterans. It was later renamed and expanded to cater to all American veterans of any war.
The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier: The tomb is located in Arlington National Cemetery. This monument is dedicated to unidentified soldiers who lost their lives during war. The tomb has been guarded by a sentinel every day, 24/7, since 1937.
The Last Surviving WWI Veteran: Frank Buckles was the last surviving World War I veteran, passing away at the age of 110 in 2011. He lied about his age to enlist in the US Army at just 16 years old, and he was one of approximately four million Americans who served in World War I.
Women in the Military: Women have played a crucial role in the US military since the Revolutionary War, serving as nurses, spies, and even soldiers in disguise. However, it wasn’t until 1948 that women were allowed to serve as permanent members of the armed forces.
Veterans Day is not Memorial Day: While both holidays honor our military, there is a significant difference. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all military veterans, while Memorial Day commemorates those who died while serving in the armed forces.
Let’s continue to honor and support our veterans, not just on Veterans Day but every day.