Reflections on Veterans Day written by an ex-soldier who is a veteran of the Vietnam War, with a poignantly different take on Veterans Day.
A couple days ago I found myself in an odd conversation pondering what the difference is between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
The answer was rather easy to find.
Veterans Day celebrates the military service of all who have served. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who died while serving.
Why is Veterans Day on this particular date? I am glad you asked.
Originally Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day, with the armistice being referred to being the ceasing of hostilities in World War I, with Germany's formal surrender occurring on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day a year later, on November 11, 1919, saying...
"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."
At the end of World War II, a veteran of that war, Raymond Weeks thought it a good idea to change Armistice Day to a day celebrating all veterans of all of America's ubiquitous wars. Mr. Weeks led a delegation to enlist General Dwight Eisenhower's support for the Veterans Day idea.
Eisenhower was onboard with the Veterans Day plan, but it took nine years for Congress to pass a bill establishing Veterans Day officially, a bill signed on May 26, 1954 by the then President Eisenhower.
It being Veterans Day it would probably be a good day to drive to Arlington to take a walk in Veterans Park....