Today I thought we would have a special post to honor those who serve our country so we can enjoy our freedom to do things like book blogging. There are many country that face war on a daily basis. When they wake up in the morning they are trying to survive, find food and shelter, but here in America we are so blessed. The historian in me thought it would be good to share a little information about Veterans Day and how it came to be. I found this great article by Ker Than over at National Geographic that I thought put together exactly what I wanted to know well so here it is for your enjoyment.
Veterans Day 2011: Why It's Today, How It's Changed, More (Full Article)
At Veterans Day events across the country, people in the United States gathered today to honor the millions of men and women who have served or are serving in the nation's armed forces.
But why was November 11 set aside for the holiday, and how has its meaning changed over time?
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, and the date was chosen for its symbolic significance, John Raughter, communications director for the American Legion, an organization of veterans helping other veterans, said in 2010.
"November 11 was intended to observe the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which marked the armistice of World War I," Raughter said.
The first Armistice Day in the U.S. occurred on November 11, 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson declared that "to us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory. ... "
Armistice Day was declared a legal holiday by Congress nearly 20 years later. In 1954 the name was changed to Veterans Day, following a national campaign to have the day honor all veterans, not just those who served in World War I.
Why Poppies for Armistice Day?
Veterans Day is still celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and other past and present nations of the British Commonwealth.
World War I veterans are remembered by the wearing of real and artificial red poppies, like those found in Belgium, in reference to "In Flanders Fields," the name of a popular World War I poem eulogizing fallen soldiers. Armistice Day is also marked with two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m.
For honoring service members in general, the U.K. has its own Veterans Day—renamed Armed Forces Day in 2009—which falls in June of each year.
How Veterans Day Stands Apart
In the U.S., Veterans Day was moved, by a 1968 act of Congress, to the fourth Monday in October.
This shift of Veterans Day—as well as similar moves for Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day—started in 1971 and was designed to create a three-day weekend for government employees.
The Veterans Day long weekend, though, was resisted by many states, localities, and veteran's groups. By 1978 Veterans Day was again rescheduled for annual observance on November 11.
Veterans Day remains a related but unique holiday from Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May each year.
"Veterans Day is to honor and observe the sacrifices made by all veterans, whereas Memorial Day is to honor the fallen—those who have given their lives for the defense of this country," said Raughter, who served in the Marine Corps from 1983 to 1990.
There is more to this article if you want to learn more, but I hope for those who were curious like me that this answered some of your questions. I know I have family and friends serving and I miss them every day they are deployed. Make sure you salute those men and women who serve our great country.
How are you spending your Veterans Day? Are you doing anything special, like going to a Veterans Day Parade?
Happy Veterans Day!!