Veterans Day is November 11th, a time to remember and honor all those who have selflessly and courageously served our great country. Across the nation, parades and all manner of events are being planned to say thank you for your service!
How Veterans Day Came To Be
Veterans Day evolved from Armistice Day, which was proclaimed in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson. Armistice Day recognizes the end of World War I, when fighting ceased at the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month in 1918.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, on November 11, 1947, a World War II veteran named Raymond Weeks organized a “National Veterans Day” parade in Birmingham, AL, to recognize veterans of all wars.
In 1953, Veterans Day was organized and celebrated in Emporia, Kansas, one year prior to the first nationwide observance on November 11, 1954. Congress later changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 to recognize veterans of all U.S. wars.
How To Honor and Celebrate
There are many local Veterans Day ceremonies and parades. Check your local news sites and veterans’ organizations and charities for more information.
One of the biggest and most special events is the National Veterans Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. The ceremony is held each year on November 11th, at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences at 11 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from a variety of dignitaries.
If you are fortunate enough to be in the nation’s capital on Veterans Day weekend, be sure to take in all the national monuments dedicated to our servicemen and women.
Another major Veterans Day event is the New York City Parade, also held on November 11th. Each year, this event includes hundreds of marching units, 30+ floats, and over 2,500 marchers. Expect a Veterans Day motorcade, Virtual line of march, motorcycle ride, wreath layings, television specials, and more.
Beginning November 8th, Musicians On Call will perform an exclusive concert to honor veterans, featuring Sara Evans, Peter Frampton, Caylee Hammack, Michael Ray, Wynonna, Darius Rucker, and more, from the Bluebird Café in Nashville, TN.
Small Acts with Big Impact
Aside from parades and ceremonies, there are plenty of service ideas dedicated to honoring and remembering our veterans. These small acts of kindness and respect can go a long way.
- Talk to a veteran or active-duty service member in your community. Ask the veteran to tell his or her story.
- Write a veteran’s story for your school or local paper. Be sure to get permission from the person before putting it in any publication. Use pictures if appropriate.
- Attend a Veterans Day parade or other special event in your community to honor veterans.
- If you see a military member in uniform, be sure to say “Thank you for your service.”
- Volunteer at an organization or event that supports wounded service members.
- Research volunteer opportunities or needs at your local VA hospital.
- Place flags or wreaths on veterans’ graves. Ask a local veterans organization or Wreaths Across America, an organization that places flags and wreaths on veterans’ graves and donors.
And finally, Veterans Day is a great time to continue or start a tradition of flying Old Glory! Be sure to observe the proper rules for display, however. Here are a few tips from Military.com:
- Never drag a U.S. flag on the ground or let it touch the ground.
- Don’t drape it over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
- Don’t display the U.S. flag above any other flag and keep it at the center when it’s surrounded by other flags.
- Don’t display a tattered or torn flag. Flags that are tattered and torn should be disposed of in a respectful way, preferably by burning.
- Never use the flag as apparel, bedding, or drapery.
Thank you to all Veterans, those currently serving, and their families! We appreciate your service and your sacrifices, and we salute you!