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.