On This Veterans Day, We Want to Say,
Thank You For Your Service
In the United States, Veterans Day is a federal holiday that is celebrated every 11th of November. Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans.
Veterans Day is commonly confused with Memorial Day. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans, living or dead; but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
History of Veterans Day
World War I, or “The Great War” officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice (an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time) was declared between the Allied nations and Germany. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning in 1919, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. It is a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, on June 1, 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to honoring American veterans of all wars.
The Remembrance Poppy
The red field poppy is the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the United States, and is the internationally recognized symbol of Remembrance. The bright red poppy is as a resilient flower, which managed to flourish despite fields being destroyed by war. At the end of World War I, poppies were the first flowers to grow from the churned mud of Northern France and Flanders battlefields.
The significance of the poppy was brought to the public’s attention through the poem In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian surgeon John McCrae while serving in Ypres in 1915. The poem inspired American teacher Moina Michael to make artificial poppies and sell them to raise money for ex-servicemen.
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.
Veterans Day Observances
Remembrance Day (sometimes known as Poppy Day), is observed in In Europe, Britain, and the Commonwealth countries. On Remembrance Day, it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11AM every November 11th. In the United States, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, while parades and other celebrations are held in states around the country.
Veterans Day is an important time to remember those who risked their lives to defend the freedom of others, and you will find there are many festive and patriotic activities to take part. San Diego is a military town, and to celebrate Veterans Day, there will be celebrations dedicated to the men and women of the U.S. military and many businesses will offer deals and freebies to U.S. veterans and active-duty service members.