Mon, Nov 12, 2012 03:18 PM
Veterans Day is an annual holiday when veterans of the armed
forces are honored and celebrated in the United States. Many people
confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. While both days honor
members of the armed forces, there's a distinction between the two
holidays. Memorial Day, which is celebrated in May, is a day
designated for remembering servicemen and servicewomen who died
while serving. Veterans Day, which is observed in November, honors
all military veterans.
HOW VETERANS DAY EVOLVED
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a national holiday called
Armistice Day to take place on Nov. 11, 1919 and annually
thereafter to commemorate the signing of the armistice treaty that
ended World War I. The holiday served to honor those who served and
lost their lives in the war. However, it wasn't until 34 years
later when a Kansas shoe store owner proposed the holiday be
expanded to remember all veterans, not just those of World War
The shoe store owner, Alfred King from Emporia, Kan., began a
campaign to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veterans Day. Emporia
Chamber of Commerce got involved and participated in the cause,
urging all business owners to shut down on Nov. 11 to honor
U.S. Representative Ed Rees, also of Emporia, helped push a bill
through Congress, which President Dwight Eisenhower later signed
into law on May 26, 1954. Roughly one week later "Armistice" was
changed to "Veterans" and the holiday has honored all veterans
WAYS TO CELEBRATE
The role of the brave men and women who serve in the military is an
important one, and it's one that warrants appreciation and
celebration. The following are a few easy ways to celebrate
veterans and their significant contribution to our country this
• Offer your thanks. While Veterans know they
don't serve in vain, serving in the military can feel like a
thankless job, as those who have not served might not be aware of
the risks men and women in the military take and the sacrifices
they must make to protect our country and help the less fortunate
across the globe. A simple "thank you" to a current service member
or military veteran can go a long way.
• Help families of active military. Many service
members are currently stationed and serving overseas, and their
families back home may need or just appreciate a helping hand.
Invite family members of active military over for dinner, offer to
do chores like cutting the grass or shoveling the driveway when it
snows or help around the house if something needs fixing. Even if
families of active members serving overseas appear to be getting
along great, offer your friendship and let them know you're there
to help should anything arise.
• Visit hospitalized veterans. Unfortunately,
many veterans are hospitalized after suffering an injury during a
tour of duty. These veterans sacrificed their physical well-being
to protect our way of life, and many spend extended periods of time
in the hospital. Visiting a hospital to get to know a veteran and
spend some time with him or her, sharing a few laughs and thanking
them for their service is a great way to celebrate the holiday and
lift a veteran's spirits at the same time. Recruit friends and
family members to visit hospitalized veterans as well.
• Facilitate a veteran's night out on the town.
Like many people, veterans appreciate an escape from the daily
grind. Men and women who want to show their appreciation to
veterans can treat a veteran to a night out on the town. Have extra
tickets to a ballgame or play? Donate them to a local VFW. Or if
you see a veteran out on the town, offer to pay for his meal.
• Thank businesses who support veterans. Many
businesses show their gratitude to veterans by offering them free
services on Veterans Day. When a local business shows its
appreciation to veterans, patronize that business and let them know
you appreciate their efforts to help veterans.