World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. However, fighting ended seven months earlier due to an armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day with these words: “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…”
What is the Difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day?
The original concept for the celebration of Veteran’s Day was for a day observed with parades and public celebrations and a brief stoppage of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. The observance of Veterans Day ton November 11th preserves the historical significance of the date and helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day, a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Memorial Day, also a federal holiday is held on the last Monday in May. It is dedicated to remembering soldiers who lost their lives in battle or from injuries received in battle. Veteran’s Day is a day to honor all veterans, living or dead, who serve or have served in the military honorably during wartime and peacetime. Veterans come from families in all parts of the United States; men and women who serve are embedded deeply in the community. Here are some facts about American veterans:
- 16.1 million living American veterans served during at least one war.
- 5.2 million American veterans served during peacetime.
- 2 million American veterans are women.
- 7 million American veterans served during the Vietnam War.
- 5.5 million American veterans served during the Persian Gulf War.
- 2 million American veterans served during the Korean War.
- As of 2014, 2.9 million American veterans received compensation for service-related disabilities.
- As of 2014, three states have more than 1 million American veterans among their population: California, Florida, and Texas.
How to Celebrate Veteran’s Day
Veteran’s Day is a good day to find a way to thank veterans for serving the United States. There are many veterans living in communities around the U.S., some of whom don’t have relatives to care for them. You can visit patients in Veteran’s Hospitals, nursing homes or neighbors that you know are veterans. Honoring veterans with celebrations and parades is a great idea, but helping them after their service to the U.S. with daily life has great meaning to them as well. Many restaurants offer free meals to veterans on Veteran’s Day, and other businesses give discounts or assistance in any way they can.