Today is Veterans Day in the U. S. and Remembrance Day in Canada. Veterans Day is a federal holiday observed annually on November 11 to honor military veterans. Remembrance Day is commemorated on November 11th each year to mark the end of World War I in 1918 and to remember who died in the Great War and all other wars.
For most of us war is something experienced only through our TVs or in papers or online. This is certainly not so for anyone who has lived through it or for the families of soldiers who have died in the line of duty. These two days of recognition and remembrance might seem different on the surface, but they serve the same purpose of honoring dedication to one’s country. In acknowledging our veterans, we pay tribute to those who never had the chance to become veterans.
Here’s a little bit of background about the two holidays: Veterans Day started in 1953 as a campaign by a U.S. shoe store owner named Al King, who believed all veterans, not just those who served in World War 1, should be celebrated. Al’s idea was taken up by his local Chamber of Commerce and then by a local congressman, who helped push a bill for the holiday through Congress. President Eisenhower signed it into law and in May 1954 Congress amended the law and officially replaced Armistice Day with Veterans Day.
Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. – on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honor and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve, Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. The poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day, and replica poppies are sold by the Royal Canadian Legion to provide assistance to veterans.
Veterans Day is particularly meaningful to me due to the fact that a lot of my family has served in the military. My father, husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law, niece and cousin all served in the Army. Our oldest son, grandpa and brother-in-law were in the Navy. My grandpa was a medic and fought in World War II. Our son served on the USS Iwo Jima.
You can show you care by making a donation to or volunteering for a veteran’s organization or an organization that helps the families of fallen soldiers. Or you can make it a point to visit veterans at your local nursing home or find ways to help their families. Any of these can be a rewarding way to show that you care and a way to remember those who served who are no longer with us.
To all our veterans, thank you. Happy Veterans Day!