Tuesday, November 11th, is Veterans Day - a special day set aside to pay tribute to the brave men and women of the armed forces who put their lives at risk to ensure that the rest of us can enjoy the freedom we often take for granted. These include members of the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Coast Guard.
The origin of the holiday can be traced all the way back to 1938, when it was observed as Armistice Day to honor the soldiers who served in World War I. November 11th was picked because the war ended exactly at 11 am on 11.11.1918. Following World War II and the Korean War, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day to include the soldiers that had fought in these two battles.
Though many people believe that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are observed for the same reason, there is a subtle but important difference between the two holidays. While both honor military personnel, Memorial Day pays tribute to the men and women that died serving our country in a war, while Veterans Day celebrates the soldiers who are still alive and have served in the forces at anytime - during peace or war.
Several other countries celebrate this day in honor of their own veterans. However, the significance differs slightly in each one. Some like the United Kingdom, celebrate it in honor of all soldiers - living or dead, while others like Canada observe it to honor the survivors. Each country also has its own name. France and New Zealand still call it Armistice Day. In the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada it is referred to as Remembrance Day, while Malta and South Africa celebrate it as Poppy Day.
No matter what it is called, the reason for observing the day is the same - To show our gratitude to the brave men and women who sacrifice everything to make this world a safer place for the rest of us. And while only a day is set aside for these-all important veterans, there are many that show their appreciation all year long.
Once such group is the Young Marines. Its 10,000 youth members that include kids as young as eight, pay homage to the brave men and women all year long, by visiting them in hospitals, performing small chores and even organizing community-wide social events.
HAPPY VETERANS DAY!
Sources: History.com,patriotism.com, VA.gov