When I think of Veteran’s Day my mind goes to the inevitable online wars where people go back and forth about Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. When do you thank a Veteran, when do you honor the fallen, and how dare you say “Happy Memorial Day!” While the intentions may be good and honorable, its the loudest and the most intense that tend to be heard, and you are left with a bad taste in your mouth. For the record, saying “Happy Memorial Day,” rubs me the wrong way; and yes, I believe people have lost sight of what these “holidays” mean. But after so many years of war we are weary, and sad and unlike previous wars we can live that all out on the internet for everyone to see. So, lets stop and get a little education…..
What is Veteran’s Day?
Said simply, Veteran’s Day is an official US holiday that honors all of those that have served in the armed forces, Veterans. Around the world you will find holidays such as Remembrance Day and Armistice Day, which are a celebration of the end of WWI. In 1956 it was officially moved to November 11 (the original armistice day after further prodding after WWII.
Think about what it was like then? You might have seen some of the documentaries or videos after WWII ended. The sheer exuberance of people, the ticker-tape parades, boys in uniform running around, girls kissing every one they came across. This had really impacted Americans. They had lost so many young lives, 20+ million military members. There was a great cry for a day to remembers those that had served. Memorial Day however was not formally created (although Decoration Day had been sporadically practiced since the civil war) until 1967.
So take time today to think about Veterans, all of them – those of the Greatest Generation that are still among us, their fellow service members who they lost. Buy a dinner or a beer for a Veteran and his family, even take the time to honor those that are no longer with us, for they are Veterans too. We don’t need a holiday to do any of that really. If we get all wrapped up in arguing with each other (even if someone is right) we lose sight of what is really important. Our anger takes hold of us and that is not honoring anyone.