Every year since 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th Armistice Day, Americans have celebrated what most of us have come to know it as, Veteran’s Day. This proclamation was made to honor veterans who served the United States, but was initially called Armistice Day as it marked the ending of WWI. In contemporary times, Veterans Day salutes and otherwise pays homage to living veterans. It is a fantastic time for all Americans to pause and consider the millions of sacrifices of our unselfish U.S. military veterans.
Little-known facts While a number of people allow the day to pass by with hardly a nod to our brave men and women veterans of the armed forces, still many more are unaware of facts related to the federal holiday. See if your knowledge matches the following bullet points.
- People from all over the world pause for a two-minute moment of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11th.
- Federal law changed Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day in 1954 by order of President Dwight Eisenhower.
- Veterans Day is also celebrated in other countries as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day.
- There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day.
- Kate Smith debuted Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” on the radio on November 10, 1938 in remembrance of Veterans Day.
- The poppy is the official symbol of Veterans Day.
- Approximately 24 million veterans will be honored this November 11th.
- National celebrations revolve around the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, but one of the unknowns from the Vietnam War was later identified through DNA.
- 16 million men and women served during World War II with some1.5 million veterans still alive.
- Although Veterans Day is a federal holiday, there is no law that prohibits states or local governments from business as usual.
What to do on Veterans Day Aside from annual parades in many cities across the United States to honor those who have served, picnics and other family outings are the norm. However, since it is a day in which we should honor all veterans, here in a short list of things you can do to do just that. Use your imagination and come up with other ideas.
- Take a veteran out to lunch or dinner.
- Go to a VA hospital and visit a veteran. Bring a book or an apple pie.
- Ask your church or synagogue to recognize veterans the Sunday before Veterans Day.
- Make a homeless veteran your friend and keep tabs on him or her.
- Send a thank you e-mail to a veteran you know.
- Buy a round of drinks for your veteran buddies at the local pub.
Conclusion Many veterans will spend Veterans Day alone this year. Traumatized by the effects of war, some find the day too difficult to recall as they reflect on their respective experiences. You can change that and brighten a veteran’s day this year. Won’t you take some time and do just that? After all, they made a significant sacrifice for you.