There is often confusion between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. They have a lot in common but have very different purposes.
Lets start with Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day is a federal holiday in the United States that is observed annually on November 11 to honor military veterans, people who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Veteran’s Day originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1918 to honor the end of World War I. In 1938, November 11 became a legal holiday dedicated to honoring World War I veterans. This act was later amended to include all veterans by changing the word “Armistice” with “Veteran’s.” Understanding about Veteran’s Day is important because veterans have done such a great service to our country that they deserve to be recognized for their bravery and patriotism.
Now lets talk about Memorial Day . . . perhaps one of the most misunderstood of our holidays. Unfortunately, many do not know or understand the significance of Memorial Day. Many often view this national observance as nothing more than a three-day weekend. In reality, Memorial Day is an annual American holiday observed on the last Monday of May to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. This is often referred to by phrases such as “Some gave all,” or “Some gave the last full measure.” Many have a connection to the U.S. military, whether it be through a family member or a friend that served and died while serving. When we have a better understanding of Memorial Day we will have the opportunity to honor the fallen. In years past it was often called Decoration Day and seen as an opportunity to decorate the graves of the fallen. It has become for many a chance to decorate the graves of all loved ones who have died. While that is a good and honorable purpose, it reduces the honor of those who “have given all” for our nation.