There are several interesting facts about Veterans Day you may not know exist.
Each year, the nation honors and remembers veterans by recognizing a federal holiday in November.
As a result, Veterans Day has transformed into the most popular holiday for celebrating military service and sacrifice.
Despite Veterans Day being a well-known holiday, there are several misconceptions about the day.
Learn 10 interesting facts about Veterans Day you never knew.
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Table of Contents
#1. Veterans Day commemorates end of WWI
World War I officially concluded with the Treaty of Versailles.
The peace treaty was reached on June 28, 1919, approximately 7 months after the fighting had ceased.
The original peace agreement between Allied forces and Germany put into effect an armistice.
Historically, the armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Consequently, November 11, 1918 transformed into the designated date for the end of World War I.
Also known as “the end of the war to end all wars”, Veterans Day was initially regarded as Armistice Day (more details, below).
In 1926, Congress officially recognized the date as the end of the war and, later in 1938, Veterans Day became an official federal holiday.
Today, Veterans Day is established as the primary day of the year to honor veterans – a tradition that dates back to the end of WWI.
#2. Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day
Veterans Day was initially known as “Armistice Day”.
Initially, Armistice Day was specifically reserved for honoring vets of WWI.
However, with the onset of World War II (as well as the subsequent Korean War), there was advocacy to shift the name to a more general title.
Consequently, Raymond Weeks – sometimes referred to as the “Father of Veterans Day” – began advocating for the term “Veterans Day”.
As a result, Congress accepted the proposal and officially amended the title to represent veterans of all eras and conflicts.
Hence, Veterans Day became official on June 1, 1954 when President Eisenhower signed the bill into law.
#3. Veterans Day vs. Memorial Day
It’s important for civilians to realize that Veterans Day is NOT the same as Memorial Day.
Unfortunately, these 2 holidays are often confused and misinterpreted.
Memorial Day, which is observed in early summer (May), is a day to remember those that sacrificed their lives for the country.
The federal holiday is especially reserved for service members that have suffered injuries or wounds from battle.
Meanwhile, Veterans Day is more designed to acknowledge and celebrate veterans of all types.
The commemoration appreciates all those that served the country, dead or alive, during times of peace or war.
Originally, the first traditions of Veterans Day were parades and public meetings / rallies.
Additionally, organizations were advised to briefly suspend business at 11:00 am as a method for honoring vets.
Today, military families and others celebrate Veterans Day in a variety of ways (more information, below).
#4. Veterans Day was once in October
Did you know that Veterans Day was once in October?
It’s one of the more interesting facts about Veterans Day that few people are aware existed.
You see, it was not only the name but date of the holiday that has changed over the course of history.
At first, the holiday was designated on November 11 to celebrate “the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month”.
However, Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 with the intentions of the shifting the holiday from November to October.
The purpose behind the resolution was that celebrating holidays on a Monday would stimulate the economy over an extended weekend for families.
Notwithstanding, the decision was unpopular with citizens and even took years to implement.
Consequently, when Veterans Day was first observed on October 25, 1971, it confused everyone.
Nevertheless, people were outraged and Congress eventually shifted the holiday back to November.
Thus, Veterans Day became cemented as a November holiday in 1975 when President Ford signed another law into office.
The annual observance officially returned to November in 1978 and has not went back since then.
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#5. Purpose of Red Poppy
Have you ever wondered what is the meaning behind the red poppy?
The red poppy originates from the World War I battlefield.
According to personal accounts, red poppies began to bloom shortly after the time fighting ceased in Europe.
For this reason, soldiers began to attribute the red poppy with a symbol of healing and recovery.
Indeed, it was a beautiful and welcomed sight compared to a landscape that had been ravaged by bombings and warfare.
The image inspired Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae to pen a famous poem, titled “In Flanders Fields“.
The poem became iconic along with the red poppy as early traditions of Veterans Day.
Today, some veterans still celebrate the annual holiday with the popular wildflower as well as reciting the poem.
#6. Other countries celebrate Veterans Day, too
Did you know that United States is not the only country to celebrate Veterans Day?
It’s true, several other nations around the globe have their own form of the holiday known as “Remembrance Day”.
Remembrance Day is celebrated in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Australia.
It’s not surprising that other countries reserve a special date for veterans, especially since WWI was a multi-international effort.
Canada has the nearest representation to Veterans Day in the United States.
The nation’s Remembrance Day is also celebrated on November 11, and includes the tradition of dawning red poppies to honor the dead.
Interesting enough, Germany also has its own version of Veterans Day despite being an enemy during WWI.
Volkstrauertag (“silent day”), or the national day of mourning, exists in Germany as their own version for remembering vets of WWI and WWII.
#7. Veterans Day is often misspelled
Did you know that Veterans Day is usually not spelled correctly?
It’s another one of the more interesting facts about Veterans Day that most civilians misinterpret.
The correct spelling of the holiday is “Veterans Day”.
The apostrophe is not required because the annual celebration is not owned by veterans.
Furthermore, the day doesn’t just belong to veterans as military spouses, children, and extended family / friends are encouraged to participate too!
There are many ways to thank a veteran for their time and service, including these 10 Best Military Retirement Gifts for 2022.
#8. Remember the National Moment of Silence
Often, a moment of silence is reserved for a tragic event or remembering the life of someone.
Therefore, Veterans Day technically has a reserved moment of silence even though most are unaware it exists.
The reason is because the national moment of silence for Veterans Day is relatively new.
President Barack Obama signed the Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act in 2016.
The new law determined that 3:11pm (Atlantic Standard Time) should be recognized as a 2-minute window of silence to recognize American vets.
You should help spread the word about this little known fact regarding Veterans Day.
#9. Millions of Veterans Serve this Country (Past & Present)
Veterans Day is important because it involves millions of Americans.
In fact, the Department of Veteran Affairs reports that there are 19 million veterans in the United States.
It accounts for approximately 10% of the total population meaning Veterans Day impacts a lot of military personnel and families.
What’s more, women compose 13% of all veterans in the United States, representing an underappreciated demographic.
In fact, the number of female service members in the country is rising, not dropping.
Therefore, make sure not to forget about women veterans as well, this November 11th.
Despite the last living U.S. World War I veteran passing away in 2011, the country remains dedicated to honoring vets from all conflicts.
For this reason, make sure to visit a military memorial (like the one at Arlington National Cemetery) to remember the incredible sacrifices these men and women make to the country.
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#10. Veterans Day is Popular for Shopping
Veterans Day was declared a national holiday by President Eisenhower, first and foremost, to honor veterans.
However, like any national holiday, it’s also designed for people to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.
Therefore, it’s not shocking that Veterans Day is also a major event for U.S. retailers.
In fact, Veterans Day is one of the most popular holidays for shopping.
It could be something to do with being in close proximity to XMAS, or, the abundance of military discounts available.
Veterans can save big on the holiday including everything from food to merchandise and entertainment.
Furthermore military discounts are available year-round from hundreds of companies, including special rates on airlines, car rentals, and gyms.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to visit a restaurant for a free meal on Veterans Day.
There are several participating restaurants, including local and nationwide establishments.
For example, free meals at Golden Corral and Applebee’s are just a couple of the cool, free things available to veterans.
The holiday is also rewarding for non-military personnel, as banks and the U.S. Post Office also observe the day off from work.
November 11 is Veterans Day, a holiday set aside for veterans but open for anyone to celebrate.
There are several interesting facts about Veterans Day that most people did not know exist.
The facts about Veterans Day include rare trivia like it was once celebrated in October as well as referred to as Armistice Day.
Furthermore, very few individuals understand the proper way to spell “Veterans Day” as well as acknowledge the recently created moment of silence at 3:11 pm.
Thus, this Veterans Day, you can surprise a military vet with your knowledge of the special celebration.
Moreover, you can learn another thing or two by simply listening to their experiences and wisdom obtained.
There are millions of Americans that have a personal connection to the holiday, making it an ideal time to get out with the family and enjoy a free meal.
Happy Veterans Day!
Featured Image Source – Wikimedia.org
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