Veterans Day is a day when Americans can show their patriotic love for America in the simple gesture of displaying American flags on their front lawns for all people to see. How is Veterans Day different from Memorial Day? According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, many Americans are confused about the meaning of these two national holidays. Also, there are Americans who do not know the reason why Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11th every year. In other words, many Americans are not familiar with the history of Veterans Day.
Here is a little bit of history about Veterans Day, in the hopes that the reasons for celebrating these two national United States annual holidays, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day, will be clearly understood:
Veterans Day was previously known as Armistice Day. The legal holiday known as Armistice Day was created to celebrate the end of World War I. World War I ended on November 11, 1918. The Act of 1938 was passed on November 11, 1938. Armistice Day was "'dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" 1 Armistice Day paid tribute to veterans of World War I.
After the end of World War II and the Korean War, various Veterans organizations asked the 83rd U.S. Congress to amend the Act of 1938, by substituting the word "Veterans" for the word "Armistice." This legislation was approved on June 1, 1954. The original date of Armistice Day, November 11, was kept, and, to this day, Veterans Day, which is an annual holiday celebrated every year on November 11, is the day Americans take the time to remember and honor all American Veterans who served in any war.
Memorial Day honors servicemembers who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.
Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s letter to Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, designating him Chairman, Veterans Day National Committee:
The White House OfficeWhat is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
October 8, 1954
Dear Mr. Higley:
I have today signed a proclamation calling upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day. It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day. With the thought that it will be most helpful to coordinate the planning, I am suggesting the formation of a Veterans Day National Committee. In view of your great personal interest as well as your official responsibilities, I have designated you to serve as Chairman. You may include in the Committee membership such other persons as you desire to select and I am requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch to assist the Committee in its work in every way possible.
I have every confidence that our Nation will respond wholeheartedly in the appropriate observance of Veterans Day, 1954.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER 1
Memorial Day remembers and honors military members who have died in service to America, or died due to war injuries. Although military members who have died in service to America are also honored on Veterans Day, the main purpose of Veterans Day is to honor and thank military veterans who are still living. Veterans Day also honors all military veterans who served America in the military, whether in times of war or in times of peace.
Veterans Day is not just an annual Federal Holiday in which some people receive a day off from their jobs. Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, has a purpose. Please remember to take a few moments during the day to remember those brave military veterans who willingly sacrifice their lives in order to protect Americans and America. Veterans Day is a day to wave your American flags and show your patriotism.
1 The History of Veterans Day
*For more information about the history of Veterans Day, click The History of Veterans Day.