Since elementary school, you have been taught that the eleventh day of November marks the celebration dedicated to acknowledging the service of all veterans of the United States Armed Forces, but what is Veterans Day, and how does it differ from Memorial Day? This patriotic holiday actually comes from another day of remembrance that is recognized in many countries around the world.
On this day in 1918, an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany that resulted in a ceasefire on the Western Front, effectively bringing an end to World War I. That date was declared a holiday in many of the allied nations which included France, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Empire, among others. For those of you who have heard passing mention of Armistice Day as a public holiday, it is still observed in France, Belgium, New Zealand, and Serbia, though in the U.S., President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially made Nov. 11 Veterans Day shortly after World War II as a way to pay tribute to all veterans who had served.
So, how is Veterans Day different from Memorial Day? Veterans Day recognizes any active duty or veteran of the Armed Forces, while Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have given their lives in combat. Make sure to thank any servicemen and women that you might see today, because they dedicate their lives to protecting the country that we all live in.
Here are some more facts you might not know about Veterans Day.
1. How To Spell Veterans Day
Though many calendars leave people confused about the spelling, there is, technically speaking, no apostrophe in Veterans Day, as the name is not meant to indicate ownership.
2. The Marines Celebrate For Two Days
Because the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps is on Nov. 10, that branch celebrates both occasions back to back.
3. President Eisenhower Extended The Day To Include All Veterans
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law that would extend the recognition of Armistice Day to all veterans of the Armed Services, rather than just veterans of World War I. Congress then amended the bill to swap the word "Armistice" for "Veterans," leaving us with what we have today.
4. Banks, Post Offices, And Most DMVs Will Be Closed
If you've been putting off running errands at any of these places, you'll have to wait until Thursday, because banks, post offices, and DMVs will be closed for the holiday.
5. Many Other Countries Will Celebrate Remembrance Day
In countries like Australia, Barbados, Canada, and India, today is Remembrance Day — the symbol of which is a red poppy flower. The day is still dedicated to those who lost their lives during World War I. In the United Kingdom, the main observance took place last weekend, on Remembrance Sunday.
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