Veterans Day, Remembrance Day: Thank a vet, honor history in a virtual event

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11: Give a virtual shout-out, call a veteran you know or make a sign to express your gratitude to a veteran in your neighborhood, today—the options are endless! However you recognize those who served America, Veterans Day is celebrated today across the country; in Canada, those who served are also recognized, in an observance known as Remembrance Day.

2020 NEWS: The U.S. Army will open the National Museum of the United States Army on this date—November 11, 2020—in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Read the story from the U.S. Army, or in the Fort Lee Traveler.) It will be the only museum to relay the entire history of the U.S. Army since its establishment, in 1775. The museum will open its doors to the public today (with health safety measure in place), but the opening will be preceded by a small ceremony that will be livestreamed. A link to the livestream will be posted on the museum’s website, at http://www.theNMUSA.org.

Care to See More?

Here’s a video about the new museum—

How It All Began

Another way to prepare for Veterans Day is to order a copy of the 100 Questions and Answers about Veterans, a book that’s packed with information veterans told us they wish more Americans understood about their lives and experiences. Click this image to visit Amazon.

In the United States, the idea of setting aside a special day to honor the men and women who served their country dates to a Nov. 11 observance at the close of World War I. The world’s “Great War” officially ceased on June 28, 1919, but the fighting had actually stopped seven months earlier, on Nov. 11—and thus, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919 as the first Armistice Day. Nearly two decades later, November 11th was declared a legal holiday in the United States.

By 1954, the world had survived WWII and the Korean War, and a WWII vet began raising support for a more general Veterans Day. Among other arguments made in this campaign: WWII had required even more soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen than WWI. At the urging of citizens, November 11th officially became Veterans Day in 1954.

In Canada, Remembrance Day is observed with a moment of silence and ceremonies. Remembrance Day, originally called Armistice Day, was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth in commemoration of the armistice agreement that ended World War I. Armistice Day was first observed as “Remembrance Day” on November 11, 1931; the poppy is the official symbol of the day.

HELP A VET; LEND A HAND

America’s millions of veterans need help for a wide range of lingering issues in their lives, so be sure to check on regional efforts to find out how you can help. Some noted peace activists within religious groups now are urging a greater awareness of the needs of veterans’ families, too.

Did you know? A whopping 44 percent of men and women who serve in the U.S. Military are residents of rural areas, according to a White House Report—even though rural residents overall only account for 17 percent of the country’s population.

2020 VETERANS DAY FREEBIES & DISCOUNTS: Many restaurants and retailers offer special prices for veterans on Veterans Day, though this year, things may look a little different amid struggling businesses and new health and safety protocols. (Military.com has an article on this story.)

Check out MilitaryBenefits.info for a full listing restaurants, retailers and more offering Veterans Day freebies and discounts for 2020.

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Veterans Day: Medal of Honor stamps released; events commence worldwide

Elderly veteran wearing Pearl Harbor hat salutes

Army Air Corps Veteran Louis Roffman salutes during the national anthem. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth, courtesy of Fotopedia

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11: Thank a veteran today!

WANT IDEAS? Check out a week-long series of great ideas to aid our veterans, coming from sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker in the OurValues project.

ARE YOU A PEACE ACTIVIST? So is the Rev. Rod Reinhart in the Chicago area. Rod wrote this column about why even peace activists should care about veterans and their families.

Millions plan to join today’s commemorations of those who sacrificed their lives for country on Veterans Day (also known as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day outside of the United States). Historically, it was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—at 11 a.m. on November 11—that the armistice went into effect that ceased hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany. (Wikipedia has details.) This event, regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars,” was first officially observed in the United States in 1919; the first British commemoration was held the same year at Buckingham Palace.

Following World War II in the United States, veteran Raymond Weeks suggested that “Armistice Day” be changed to “Veterans Day,” to honor all who had served his or her country following World War I: Today, Veterans Day events are held across the United States while Armistice Day celebrations continue across the globe. (Learn more from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and History.com.) Parades, memorial services, speeches and ceremonies extend gratitude and recognition to veterans worldwide. From a concert in Glasgow to evening services in Australia, millions will gather to say “thank you.”

The United States Postal Service will honor recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II this year with a unique series of stamps, which will list the medal’s 464 recipients in every book. The stamps are scheduled for released Nov. 11, 2013 at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

THE ROAD FROM WWI:
WOODROW WILSON TO DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

Marines march down an empty street in NYC holding flags during parade

Photo by NYCMarines, courtesy of Flickr

In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the commemoration of Armistice Day. Seven years later, Congress deemed Armistice Day a legal holiday; in 1954, that legal holiday was renamed “Veterans Day.” Though the Uniform Holiday Bill briefly moved Veterans Day to October, it returned to Nov. 11 in 1978.

As of 2012, Armistice Day became an official holiday in Serbia; it also remains an official holiday in France and Belgium, though commemorations are held in Australia, Scotland and even Brazil. The day is termed “Remembrance Day” in countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations. In many countries, two moments of silence are observed at 11 a.m. local time.

EVENTS, DEALS FOR VETERANS
AND TEACHER RESOURCES

Looking for the goings-on of this year’s holiday? This interactive online map allows users to locate Veterans Day events around the world. Veterans Day ceremonies at VA National Cemeteries are listed here. Teachers can access information on Take a Vet to School Day. Veterans with proper ID can find out where to find a free meal, everywhere from Applebee’s to Olive Garden to TGI Friday’s. This list details retail outlets, motels and auto services that offer discounts to veterans.