What is Veterans Day?
- Veterans Day celebrates, honours and thanks all those who have and still serve in the US military.
- Originally the date commemorates the day when the Armistice was signed. The Armistice was an agreement between Germany and the Allied Countries which ended World War I in 1918.
- Veterans Day was called Armistice Day until 1954. It was changed so that the day could honour all Americans who have fought in any war at any time, rather than just WWI.
- The Armistice was signed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.
When is Veterans Day Celebrated?
- Every year on November the 11th.
- If November 11th falls on a weekend it is moved to a weekday.
How is Veterans Day Celebrated?
- Federal Government offices and other government offices which are non-essential are closed.
- Businesses, local government and schools can choose to remain open or to shut.
- Church services and parades are held throughout the country.
- Traditional food for the holiday in the US is Ravioli. This tradition came from the end of WWI when President Woodrow Wilson invited 2,000 soldiers to the White House. He helped the chefs prepare the meal. It was thought soldiers would want a home cooked meal when they had been away for so long.
What is the Difference Between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
- Memorial Day and Veterans Day are often confused. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May and remembers those who have died whilst serving the US. Veterans Day celebrates both living and dead but primarily thanks and honours living Veterans.
Did you know…
- Approximately 60 million people died in WWI. That is more than the entire population of the UK, over a 5th of the population of the USA, twice the population of Canada or three times the current population of Australia.
- Veterans Day is still celebrated as Armistice Day in France and Belgium. They did not change the name.
- Armistice Day was changed to Remembrance Day in British Commonwealth countries around the world. These countries include Great Britain, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
- Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday is always held on the Sunday nearest to the 11th November in the UK and other member territories. A two minute silence is observed by businesses and parades to honour the dead.
- The Remembrance Day two minute silence was moved to the nearest Sunday to prevent interference with production during the second world war.
- Italy is an exception and celebrates the same holiday on 4th November each year.
- In the UK, a red poppy has become a symbol of Remembrance Sunday. It is related to a famous poem “In Flanders Fields” where poppies grew across the battlefields of WWI. The poppies represent the blood spilled.
- Quote by the then US President, President Woodrow Wilson when pronouncing the holiday: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”