Veterans Day in the United States
The history of Veterans Day in the United States began as Armistice Day in 1919. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name to honor all veterans of wars and peace.
In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which set four national holidays – Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day – to fall on Mondays. This caused much confusion, and in 1975 President Gerald Ford signed a law returning the holiday to November 11.
The holiday originated as Armistice Day, a memorial for those who fought and died in World War I. In 1938, Congress officially recognized it as a national holiday, and on November 11, the date that commemorates the end of the war, Americans pause to remember and thank veterans for their service.
In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks suggested that the holiday be expanded to honor all veterans instead of just those who fought in World War I. His idea influenced Congress to change the name of the holiday in 1954, and it is thanks to Weeks that we now recognize all American veterans for their sacrifice and service.
After World War II and the Korean War, millions of additional war veterans joined the ranks of those who fought in the “war to end all wars.” In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved the Federal observance of Veterans Day from November 11 back to the fourth Monday in October. However, the move was unpopular, and in 1975, President Ford signed legislation returning Veterans Day to November 11.
The holiday commemorates all veterans who served in the United States military, past and present. Unlike Memorial Day, which honors the dead, Veterans Day is a day to thank living veterans for their service. The national holiday is celebrated on November 11. It was originally a celebration of Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I. The name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954, and it honors all veterans who served in the armed forces, in wartime or peacetime.
One of the most important things that can be done on Veterans Day is to visit a local veteran's assistance program and thank a vet for their service. Volunteering to help veterans in need is a great way for schools, churches and scout groups to celebrate the holiday. Those who have difficulty getting around can be visited by volunteers to run errands for them or even just visit and talk. This is also a good opportunity to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues that many veterans struggle with.
In honor of our nation's heroes, the federal holiday is celebrated in a number of different ways. Some people attend local parades and ceremonies, others observe a moment of silence or a moment of remembrance, and many fly their American flags at half mast.
Some people choose to visit a veterans memorial to pay their respects and remember those who lost their lives while serving the country they love. Others enjoy spending the day outdoors and take advantage of free entry to national parks.
New York holds one of the biggest celebrations on Veterans Day, with a parade that draws crowds and celebrities. In addition, the city hosts an event to honor veterans with a health, job and resource fair, where they can meet with medical specialists and talk to employers about potential employment opportunities.
During Veterans Day, many national parks open their gates for free to all veterans. This is a great way for veterans to enjoy the outdoors which benefits their mental and physical health.
This is also a good time to get involved with a veteran-focused charity. For example, Homes for Troops builds homes for injured veterans. Another good way to help is to sponsor a vet's flight to Washington D.C. for them to see their national monuments.
If you know a veteran, reach out to them on Veterans Day with a phone call or a letter. It can mean a lot to them that you take the time to show your appreciation for their service. You can also join a volunteer group like Soldiers' Angels that sends care packages to deployed veterans and military members. They even have a virtual letter writing team where you can write letters for those overseas. You can also make donations to help wounded veterans.