Veterans Day is a holiday to honor our nation’s serving men and women. However, there are a few misconceptions about the day.
Here are a few facts from the U.S. Dept of Defense that may help clear up Veterans Day confusion.
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1. Veterans Day does NOT have an apostrophe.
You may want to write is as “Veteran’s Day,” or “Veterans’ Day,” but that is incorrect. Actually, the day doesn’t belong to one veteran or multiple veterans, like Valentine’s Day might belong to Saint Valentine. Veterans Day is to honor all veterans, so no possessive punctuation is necessary. The name simply written as “Veterans Day” is just right.
2. Veterans Day is NOT the Same as Memorial Day.
There is an important distinction between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. When it comes to the holiday’s purpose, Veterans Day honors all of those who served the country in war or peace. The day’s intention is to thank living veterans, but people may choose to honor deceased servicemen and women, too. Memorial Day dedicates time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle.
So, don’t confuse the two holidays. People celebrate Veterans Day annually on Nov. 11, while Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May.
3. It was originally called Armistice Day to remember the end of World War I.
The holiday was originally named Armistice Day. This is because WWI fighting ended when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. So, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day an official holiday to honor WWI veterans.
However, after WWII and the Korean War happened, veterans service organizations urged Congress to broaden the holiday to honor American veterans of all wars. Then, in 1954, Congress amended the commemoration to change the word “armistice” to “veterans.” Today, some people may still refer to Veterans Day as Armistice Day.
4. A bill set Veterans Day commemorations for the fourth Monday of every October and people didn’t like it.
The day dedicated to celebrate veterans changed around quite a bit.
Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays, like Veterans Day, would be celebrated on a Monday. This was to encourage more travel and family activities over the long weekend, so it may stimulate the economy.
The first Veterans Day celebrated on a Monday according to the Uniform Holiday Bill wasn’t until 1971. But, people didn’t seem to like this too much. Some states chose to honor Veterans Day on Nov. 11, anyway. Because U.S. citizens wanted to celebrate in November due to the historical significance of the day, the holiday date was changed back. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law to return Veterans Day to its original celebration day.
5. Other countries celebrate the day as ‘Remembrance Day’.
Canada and Australia both call Nov. 11 “Remembrance Day.” Canada’s observance is similar to our own, except many of its citizens wear red poppy flowers to honor their war dead. In Australia, the day is more like our Memorial Day.
Great Britain also calls it “Remembrance Day,” but observes it on the Sunday closest to Nov. 11. They honor veterans and those who lost their lives in war with parades, services and two minutes of silence in London.
To learn more about Veterans Day, visit the U.S. Dept of Defense’s website.