What is Veterans Day and why is it celebrated?
Celebrated on the 11 of November every year, Veterans Day is a public holiday in the US and a day dedicated to honoring all the military people who have served or are currently serving in the army. Veterans Day in 2018 will fall on November 11 which is a Sunday. In Canada, November 11 is marked at Remembrance Day which is like Memorial Day.
Veterans Day was actually called ‘Armistice Day’ since 1919 and observed the agreement signing that put the World War I to an end on November 11, 1918, at sharp 11:00 am. In 1954, Armistice Day changed to Veterans Day.
In most Commonwealth countries as well as the UK and Europe a 2- minute silence is observed on the day at 11:00 am every year. Huge parades are held every year in the country with New York being the biggest host. Poppy is also a national symbol for both Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
The concept of Veterans Day was actually put forward by Raymond Weeks. He implied that the day be celebrated in honor of the living military personnel as well.
When is Veterans Day 2018, 2019, 2020?
The following are the days that November 11 has fallen or will fall in the coming future:
|2017||November 11, Saturday|
|2018||November 11, Sunday|
|2019||November 11, Monday|
|2020||November 11, Wednesday|
In 2018, Veterans Day will be observed on the 12th of November which is a Monday, since the day falls on a Sunday.
- Suggested read: When is Armed Forces Day 2018? History & Traditions
The history of Veterans Day
Veterans Day was actually known as ‘Armistice Day’ since President Woodrow Wilson recognized the day on November 11, 1919, after the ‘Treaty of Versailles’ was signed and the World War I came to an end. In 1954, Armistice Day was officially made into Veterans Day by President Dwight D Eisenhower.
The Congress changed the day of the celebration to the fourth Monday in October in 1968, but President Gerald Ford changed it back to its original 11 November in 1975 due to its significance in the history of the United States.
In World War II and the Civil War, the Veterans played a considerable role, and their services did not go unnoticed when the 83rd US Congress revised the act of 1938 and changed the word Armistice to Veterans.
This day was actually not celebrated for all veterans just the ones who fought and helped end the World War. Only after the suggestion made by Raymond Weeks, were all the Veterans added to the list.
The Arlington National Cemetery in the US has graves of unidentified soldiers from wars buried each year.
Veterans Day Vs Memorial Day
Many confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. Veterans Day is a day celebrated to honor all the citizens who serve in the military or have served in the military and are alive. Memorial Day is a day celebrated for all the military personnel who died in battle or in service of the military.
Poppy, the symbol of Veteran’s Day
The Red Poppy flower is a famous symbol of both Memorial Day as well as Veterans Day to remember all the dead veterans who sacrificed their lives since 1921.
It was inspired by a poem written during the war known as ‘In Flanders Fields’ and touched many hearts. The flower is used not only in the US but also UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
White poppies symbolize peace and are in honor of both military and civilian casualties. The purple poppy flowers are in remembrance of the animals that died during wars.
Traditions of Veterans Day
- A wreath-laying ceremony takes place in Arlington National Cemetery at the ‘Tomb of the unknown soldiers’
- National parades are held throughout the country
- A 2- minute silence at sharp 11 am on every Veterans Day
- The national flag is flown at its highest
- The graves of the dead veterans are visited
Facts related to Veterans Day
- Veterans Day is a Federal Holiday. If it falls on Saturday, the day is observed on Friday, and if it falls on a Sunday it is celebrated on Monday
- The US alone is home to more than 21 million veterans out of which 2 million are women
- The US veterans have served and played significant roles in about 12 major Wars
- From the total of 44 Presidents of the United States of America, 26 have served as veterans in wars
- Veterans Day was firstly known as Armistice Day
- The most massive Veterans Day parade is held in New York City
- World War was officially over on 11th November 1919 at 11 am
- Raymond Weeks is the one who suggested that all veterans both dead and alive be honored on this day
- The very first Veterans Day parade took place in Alabama in 1947
- Raymond Weeks led the first parade in Alabama and continued to do so for 38 years until his death in 1985