To All Veterans, Thank you.

By Joe Rosenthal -Wikimedia 

Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, and Veteran’s Day, honors those who have served in the U.S. military and those who have lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday also honors those who served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Veterans Day isn’t just celebrated by veterans – it’s celebrated by every American citizen who has ever been grateful for those who have served our country.

This day is intended for Americans, in general, to pay tribute and honor all who have served our country in uniform by engaging in community volunteerism and service projects. As such, activities held on Sunday or Monday that recognize veterans are appropriate; however national/local monuments and government offices may only be honored on Veteran’s Day proper.

American Veterans Day will be observed on November 11, coinciding with Remembrance Day observed in Commonwealth Nations around the world. In those countries, observances typically take place at military memorials and war cemeteries – not necessarily businesses — although many give employees time off from work to participate if they choose (some companies even observe remembrance days and close business).

November 11th was chosen as a day to honor veterans because it represents not only those who fought for their country in World War I but also those who died in that war. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marked the moment when World War I ended at 11:00 am on November 11, 1918. It is celebrated annually in different ways around the world. It is recognized in America by an official ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and many other events across the nation, including parades and fireworks.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers places flags on all Tomb of Unknown Soldiers throughout Europe by members of American Legion Posts worldwide. This tradition goes back to 1921 when Major General John J. Pershing sent thousands of flags overseas so every nation could have one next to each grave marker identifying an unknown soldier buried in France after World War I. Every year since 1948, Americans have placed red poppies beside these graves on Remembrance Day or Veterans Day—which has evolved into Armistice Day or Memorial Day weekend—to honor their sacrifice for our freedom against tyranny and oppression.

Many Native Americans call Nov. 11 The Day of Mourning in remembrance of what happened to them when settlers arrived in their land during Columbus’ voyages to America, which they celebrate instead on Columbus Day (the second Monday in October). Additionally, November also marks Korean Armistice Day, German Sedantag (Remembrance/Restoration of Peace), Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day & Vietnam Veterans Recognition Days. So while it may seem like there are plenty enough days already set aside for military appreciation—in fact, there are far more days dedicated to honoring military service than any other cause or religion—that’s kind of part of why we celebrate it whenever we can.

If you’re in college, there are plenty of ways to make your mark in honor of veterans. Whether it’s an upcoming veterans group on campus or a nonprofit dedicated to improving veteran services, look for opportunities to volunteer or get involved. If you’re not in school anymore, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can help out. If your workplace has a veteran association or program in place, check it out and see if there are any volunteer opportunities for you. Or you can always search online for local programs geared toward helping veterans find jobs and skills training—some employers even offer benefits like extra time off so new employees can attend job-training seminars without fear of losing their spot on payroll.

God Bless America, God Save The Veterans


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