Veterans Day is not Memorial Day in November. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Veterans Day is a day of celebration. A day set aside to honor, and celebrate those who served and came home. According to Military.com, Veterans Day began as Armistice Day to honor the end of World War I which officially ended on November 11, 1918. President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th Armistice Day in 1919 one year after the end of WWI. “On this 11th day of the 11th month oat the 11th hour we are filled with pride and gratitude to those who have taken a vow of service for our country. We honor their service because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show celebrate their return to American soil with peace and justice among the councils of the nations.”
The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”
n 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the “Father of Veterans Day.”
U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954. Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
Memorial Day on the other hand is the holiday set aside to pay tribute to those who died serving in the military.
The website for the United States Department of Veterans Affairsrecounts the start of Memorial Day this way: “Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.”
In reality every day is good day to thank a veteran. Every day is great day to remember the fallen. The sacrifices our military make go far and beyond what the nation sees. Everyone who took that oath no matter what their reason for vowing to defend us they all wrote the country a blank check up to and including their life. How do you not honor, and salute that.