Veteran's Day is one of the most famous days of the year. It's a day when our most loved citizens—our vets—are celebrated as the heroes they are. On November 11th, we are all united to treat our vets with care, and honor them with accolades. So, why do Americans celebrate Veterans' Day, and what does that mean for us? Before we dive into the meaning, we should first learn about the history of how Veteran's Day became a holiday and why Americans should celebrate the holiday each year.
The History of Veteran's Day
Veteran's Day is on November 11th and is a holiday that's been instated as a "thank you" for those veterans who are retired from the military. Many people don't know that it was once called “Armistice Day” and was set to celebrate and honor the end of World War I in 1938 through Congress. In 1954 due to veterans' protests, Congress amended the Act by removing the word "Armistice" and putting the word 'veteran' in the Act instead. In 1968 the Uniforms Holiday Bill made it so that federal employees receive a three-day weekend. The annual observance of the holiday returned in 1978 on November 11th.
Who's Considered a Veteran?
This can be tricky. Not too many people know that veterans are considered anyone who has served in any military branch—from the Marines to the National Guard—and is currently retired. While the deceased is also honored on Veteran's Day—as we can attest when we observe the Presidential ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—we remember the deceased heroes of the military primarily on Memorial Day.
Why Do We Celebrate?
We celebrate primarily to honor the living and deceased who have served their country. Serving in the military is an enormous sacrifice that can take up a person's time and energy and place them in danger. The sacrifices they make—going overseas and away from family and having to watch the men and women they've grown close to perish—can leave scars on a person's heart. Many people don't have the fortitude to serve in the military, so the ones that do deserve our deepest gratitude. We should fly our flags on our commercial flag poles with pride. This is a key reason why Americans should celebrate Veteran’s Day each year.
Americans should celebrate Veteran’s Day because it's the right thing to do. It demonstrates our love for people who put their lives in danger for our freedom. As such, they must be honored as some of our greatest citizens. Without our veterans fiercely protecting our borders, we don't know where we'd be.