Veteran’s Day is celebrated annually on November 11th. This special day is dedicated to honoring those who served their country.
Today, there are an estimated 19 million veterans in America. Seven million served in the Vietnam War, while 5.5 million served during the Gulf War era. The remaining vets served in World War II, the Korean War or during peacetime.
Sorting Out the Holidays: Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day
Let’s first clear up a few common misconceptions.
The Veteran’s Day tradition began with Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. This marked the end of World War I. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance. In 1938, Veteran’s Day became a national holiday to honor veterans who served in our nation’s branches of military.
Memorial Day, on the other hand, honors people who died during service to our country.
Finally, there is Labor Day. This national holiday honors American workers. Many are surprised to learn it has nothing to do with the veterans or the military.
Honoring Veterans on Veterans Day
What are some of the best ways to honor the veterans in your family on Veterans Day? Traditionally, we honor veterans on Veterans Day with parades and speeches. The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia hosts a special ceremony.
But you can honor veterans closer to home in a number of ways.
Ideas to Honor Veterans
- Thank a veteran. Whether it’s a family member or an active-duty military member you pass on the street, take time to thank them for their service.
- Ask a loved one to share their stories. Some veterans may be hesitant to speak about their time in the military, especially if they took part in combat during the Vietnam or Gulf Wars. But if your loved one wants to speak, listen. You might even consider asking for permission to record their stories so you will have them to share with your children, grandchildren, and so on.
- Respect our nation’s flag. You can hang a flag in front of your home to celebrate Veterans Day and honor veterans. Be sure to follow appropriate flag etiquette.
- Visit a local historic military landmark. If you can’t make it to the National Cemetery in Arlington, it may be nice to visit a local historic landmark. Choose a military landmark from this list of national historic sites.
- Visit veterans in a local senior living community. A senior community near you may have special activities planned for veterans who live there. Ask if you can volunteer to help with the event or if you can spend time one-on-one time with a resident who is a veteran. You might want to ask if you can bring your children so they can learn more about our nation’s military branches and history.
To learn more about the Veterans Day activities taking place at Five Star Senior Living, find a community near you and ask about their events and activities.