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5 Facts to Know About Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a well-known American holiday, but there are also a few quite a few misconceptions about it — for example like how it’s spelled or whom exactly it celebrates and honors to be more precise. To clear some of these misunderstandings up, here are the important details you should know.

Many Americans think that it’s “Veteran’s Day” or “Veterans’ Day,” but they’re sadly wrong. The Veterans Day is a holiday and is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, which is what an apostrophe implies. It’s a day for honoring all veterans — so no apostrophe needed. All Veterans both past and present both here and gone. We cherish our US Veterans memories on this day above all things.

Veterans Day is NOT the Same as Memorial Day.

A lot of Americans get this confused on somewhat of a regular basis, and we’ll be honest — it can somewhat be annoying to all of the living veterans out there. They know full and well the distinction and it is important that you do as well. Veterans Day is special and it should be paid the respect that it deserves.

A U.S. Army Reserve soldier reads some of the 58,307 names etched into “The Wall” of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. as the sun rises July 22, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar)

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle.

Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices. We will always remember is a testimony to the American culture and its an understanding that men and women took up the call to protect our freedoms and some made the ultimate sacrifice. Their memory s a way to honor them now and forever.

It was originally called Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I.

World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, the combat ended about seven months earlier before that when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.   

For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. The world was supposed to learn that the horrors of war should have ended in Europe now and forever. Unfortunately it did not. In 1926, US Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration yet again by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars.  

Not All Veterans Walk On Two Legs

One of the largest misunderstandings is that just because we have always learned that a Soldier, Sailor, US Marine, Airman or Coastie are Veterans that there is also the 4-legged Veterans two. The K9s! They went on reconnaissance, located bombs and IED’s, navigated land mines and located snipers and hard to spot enemy combatants. They operated with their human partners and become an effective military team.

For a while, Veterans Day’s date was changed, too, and it confused everybody.

Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays — Veterans Day included — would be celebrated on a Monday. Officials hoped it would spur travel and other family activities over a long weekend, which would stimulate the economy.

For some inexplicable reason, the bill set Veterans Day commemorations for the fourth Monday of every October.

Veterans Day Honors Our Cold War Warriors

It didn’t have to be a hot or shooting war to have served with pride. In a cold war there are plenty of casualties and just because two countries are not technically acted out in a full fledged war doesn’t mean that airplanes don’t dogfight, that ICBM silos aren’t made ready with a DEFCON update goes out or that firefights don’t occur along some distant fence line never to be reported by some news agency. People serve in Cold Wars and they can die in them.

On Oct. 25, 1971, the first Veterans Day under this new Congressional bill was held. We’re not sure why it took over three years to implement, but not surprisingly, there was a lot of confusion about the change, and many states were unhappy, choosing to continue to recognize the day as they previously had — in November. Slow moving Washington, DC machinery all over again.

Spectators and veterans hold up “Thank You” signs during the 2012 Fayetteville Veterans Day parade, Nov. 10, in Fayetteville, N.C. The annual parade featured U.S. Army Reserve Command Soldiers and service members and equipment from the 18th Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division, high school bands, decorated floats, veteran’s organizations and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps marching units.

Within a few years, it became pretty apparent and obvious that most U.S. citizens wanted to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, since it was a matter of historic and patriotic significance. We are sticklers for history and putting a date on something. So on Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law (Public Law 94-97), which returned the annual observance to its original date starting in 1978. We now had an official date at last.

Other countries celebrate it, too, in their own ways.

Local community members, along with Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing, participate in a Remembrance Day parade in Lakenheath Village, England, Nov. 8, 2015. Remembrance Day observance was first held Nov. 11, 1921, and hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

World War I was a multinational effort, so it makes sense that our allies also wanted to celebrate their veterans on Nov. 11. The name of the day and the types of commemorations differ, however.

Canada and Australia both call Nov. 11 “Remembrance Day.” Canada’s observance is pretty similar to our own, except many of its citizens wear red poppy flowers to honor their war dead. In Australia, the day is more akin to our Memorial Day.

Great Britain calls it “Remembrance Day,” too, but observes it on the Sunday closest to Nov. 11 with parades, services and two minutes of silence in London to honor those who lost their lives in war.

Blood Sweat And Tears

If you have served then you more than anyone else understand the nature of this term and when you hear the words Blood Sweat and Tears it brings a flood of emotion that many others will never fully understand. You remember sleeping on a cold frozen hill in Korea, the mosquito infested, humid as hell jungles of Vietnam or the deep blue of the raging oceans of the world where warship, submarine and naval squadron played their game of chess with the enemy. Everything you did while in the service to America came at a cost. Our veterans having served in Operation Iraqi Freedom

or over the barren hills of Afghanistan leaving friends and family members to serve America.

Their sacrifices cannot be measured without having been there in some capacity. OIF and OEF Veterans like their brothers and sisters that took up arms from more recent memories and wars such as those Veterans that served in World War 1, 2, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm

have a special bond that civilians will never know. It is an honor to have served and when asked what the most important distinction one’s military career was it is often said it was the man to the left or right of you. We may not always understand but we can always appreciate them and honor them for what they have done.

Here’s some ground rules for Veterans Day:
1. Don’t wish me a Happy Memorial day. There is nothing happy about brave men and women dying. Also its Veterans Day!
2. It’s not a holiday. It’s a remembrance.
3. If you want to know the true meaning, visit Arlington or your local VA, not freaking Disneyland.
4. Don’t tell me how great any one political power is. Tell me about Chesty Puller, George Patton, John Basilone, Dakota Meyer, Kyle Carpenter, Mitchell Paige, Ira Hayes, Chris Kyle and any other heroes too numerous to name. Attend a Bell Ceremony and shed some tears.
5. Don’t tell me I don’t know what I am talking about. I have carried the burden all too many times for my warriors who now stand their post for God.
6. Say a prayer… and then another.
7. Remember the Fallen for all the Good they did while they were here.
8. Reach out and let a Vet know you’re there, we’re losing too many in “peace”.