This year: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Veterans Day was created to honour all our veterans that served in the armed forces. These people should be remembered for the simple fact that many of them gave their lives to ensure our freedom in the United States. There are over 24.9 million veterans living in the US today.
Veterans Day was created from Armistice Day. Armistice Day was first celebrated in 1919. On November 11, 1953, the people in Emporia Kansas changed the name to Veterans Day. They had parades, picnics and celebrations for all their veterans. But the good people of Emporia Kansas didn't stop there. They wrote to the House of Representatives and had the holiday changed in all the states to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954.
Veterans Day created yet another national holiday for people. Most holidays are placed on a Monday to get people a three day holiday sometimes. For Veterans Day, it is always on November 11. It doesn't matter whether it is on a Wednesday or Thursday. Although some people will work on the holiday due to its closeness to Thanksgiving Day.
Some people confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Veterans Day is remembering everyone who served that is still living and can tell us the tales of the battles they fought. Most can tell us tales of such woe and horror that we don't ever want to send anyone else in our family to fight with the armed services. Memorial Day is just what it implies. It is a day set aside for us to remember and cherish the memory of many soldiers who gave their lives for this great country and died in the fight.
Traditionally, a ceremony is held in November on Veterans Day at the National Cemetery in Arlington. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that is "known but to God" is given a wreath by the President while off in the distance, you can hear a bugle playing "TAPS" in honour of the fallen servicemen. All the military services are invited to join in this celebration that honour their friends, spouses, children, and even parents.
A true story that follows along the lines of Veterans Day happened recently. Some teenagers with their drama teacher had taken a class trip to a nursing home that was known to have many veterans in the area to put on a show for the people of their upcoming play. The kids were excited to get some reactions before they did the play for real in front of a crowd. So they rehearsed and performed one or two scenes from the play. It was a smash hit. When one of the teens was asking about Veterans Day and what it meant to the people at the nursing home, an older gentleman spoke up. He told a story of being overseas and wondering if he would ever make it back home to see his family again. He wondered if they would be forgotten and left on their own in the forests and swamps. When asked what he wanted most from people who come to visit him, he paused. He told the kids he wanted people to come and visit and ask about his days overseas. He wanted to let them know how hard it was and how frightening. He wanted them to just visit for a chess game now and then. Then he looked off into space stating the kids were probably too busy for that sort of thing. The kids took what he said to heart and organized a schedule to visit with these special folks and let them know they are not forgotten and that we appreciate what they did for us. The man said it was the best Veterans Day present he had ever received.