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Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Many people enjoy Veterans Day because it means a day off from work or school, but the holiday is much more than that. Do you know how Veterans Day started? Or the story of the Tomb of the Unknown?

The History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, as it celebrated the temporary cessation (or armistice) of hostilities between Allies and Germany during World War I. This occurred in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and while Armistice Day was celebrated each year from that day forward, it wasn’t legally recognized as a federal holiday until 1938. However, the name was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day after World War II and the Korean War to honor all individuals who had served in the armed forces. Over the course of World War II and the Korean War, over 20 million people served in the armed forces. To reflect the sacrifices of all veterans, President Eisenhower signed into effect legislation that changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, in June of 1954. Unlike Memorial Day, which celebrates those members of the military who lost their lives while serving, Veterans Day is a day of tribute for all members of the military, living or not.

The Tomb Of The Unknown

The Tomb of the Unknown, in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., holds the remains of unidentified soldiers who lost their lives in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Each Veterans Day there is a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown. This year, the wreath will be placed by Vice President Joe Biden. Vice President Biden will then give a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater. President Obama will speak at U.S. Army Garrison in Yongsan in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, in addition to participating in a wreath-laying ceremony there.

Veterans Day in other countries

The United States is not the only country with a day designated for the remembrance and appreciation of our service men and women. Other countries that celebrate Veterans of World Wars I and II include Britain, France, Canada and Australia. In Canada, the day is called Remembrance Day, and in Britain, Remembrance Sunday.

Facts about Veterans Day

  • There are over 23.3 million military veterans in the United States alone. 
  • The civilian workforce in the Defense Department is made up of 43% Veterans. The national unemployment for Veterans is 8.3%. The national unemployment rate is 9.6% 
  • The History Channel launched a “Take A Veteran To School Day” in 2007 to help school children learn more about Veterans Day and military life in general. 
  • There is no apostrophe at the end of Veterans because the day is meant to celebrate all Veterans, it does not belong to them
  • Although some people associate red poppies with Veterans Day, those flowers are actually worn on Memorial Day to honor service people who have died. 

Please don’t forget about those in the armed forces who have tragically taken their own lives. “Suicide is now the third leading cause of death among soldiers.” Sign Mental Health America’s Petition asking President Obama to honor soldiers who commit suicide by sending letters of condolences.

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Photo Thanks to U.S. Army Africa

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4:11PM PST on Dec 9, 2010

Help veterans and all those who have served our country so well find jobs today! Please spread the word. Take 2 minutes and click on our page and use the "Suggest to Friends" button on the left to invite all your friends to help veterans find jobs! www.facebook.com/chooseveterans and www.chooseveterans.com

1:08AM PST on Nov 27, 2010

Thanx for this article and all of our Wonderful Veterans.

7:48PM PST on Nov 20, 2010

G-d Bless Our Veterans!

12:10PM PST on Nov 14, 2010

Thank you...I have enough war veterans in my family...I honor all who have served...they deserve it the price has been too high in young soldiers.

11:52PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

I honor veterans all around the world. Thank You for your service.

'nuf said

5:22PM PST on Nov 12, 2010

I agree with Megan that, while we all support our young men and women, some of the causes for which they die are no longer just. They are for political, economic and strategic gain and that is not right. I suggest that no war should be fought unless the leaders and their children are on the front lines, not at home safe and cozy. That may bring about a change in policies. Let us all hope for peace so no more have to die.
God bless Canada too!!!

5:11PM PST on Nov 12, 2010

Excuse if this repeats as it didn't seem to go through.
I was very pleased that there were hundreds at our local Remembrance Day ceremony including the population of all the schools. Ours is a small Canadian town of @5000. The bugler was only 10 or 12. I was the piper. The children sang songs like "Imagine", not patriotic songs or songs glorifying war but about the hope for peace. Another sang "Bring him home" from Les Miserables. Inspiring. There was a fly over or 2 American and 2 Canadian WW2 planes which touched me as my late dad was in the RCAF in Europe in WW2.
After, the children went to the Legion for lunch & went table to table meeting the vets and giving them stories and poems they had written for them. Their eyes were wide with amazement when they heard the vets' stories and learned that some went to war at 16 or 17. The children had also researched stories of veterans from old diaries and archives, including those of some who did not come home, so they could appreciate what these men and women went through. When the children left, they hugged the vets and there were moist eyes all around.
The emphasis was learning history and the terrible toll of war. It made me feel good to know the vets were appreciated but the emphasis was not so much blind patriotism but a yearning to learn from the past and hope for peace so that the evils of war do not have to be a plague for another generation. It is certainly time we finally learn this lesson!

4:59AM PST on Nov 12, 2010

Thank you

4:41AM PST on Nov 12, 2010

Sending loving kindness and positive thoughts to our past and present soilders. Thank you for my freedom.

3:17AM PST on Nov 12, 2010

Petitions signed. TAT (Tapas Accupressure Technique) has been used successfully to deal with Post Traumatic Stress in both soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and survivors of natural disasters.

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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