A popular misconception with Veterans Day is to remember those who have passed away while serving this Nation. The Holiday, on the contrary, is to celebrate all veterans, including those who are living and are currently in service or have served. How did this confusion happen? It isn't that far off from the origins of the November 11th holiday.
It may be interesting to learn Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. Armistice Day was in recognition of World War I ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Armistice Day became a national holiday in 1926 to honor the soldiers who died in WWI that made the ultimate sacrifice in "the war to end all wars". However, in 1939 the beginning of World War II would break the promise- making the term armistice void.
When World War II ended Raymond Weeks, a WWII veteran, wanted to uphold the honor of recognizing those who fought and organized a parade in Alabama on November 11, 1947. This action grabbed the attention of Rep. Edward Rees of Kansas who proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day. President Eisenhower (34th President) signed the bill making the name change official in 1954. From 1968 to 1978 Veterans Day was observed on the 4th Monday in October but was moved to the traditional date, November 11, due to the significance this day symbolized to most Americans.
The National ceremony for Veterans Day happens at the Memorial Amphitheater around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Color Guard representing all military service does a "Present Arms" at the Tomb alongside a buglar playing "Taps" on November 11th at 11 am.
Importance of the Poppy Flower
Around Veterans Day, many start wearing a poppy lapel as a sign of respect for those who have served. There are multiple significant meanings from why the poppy was chosen to the proper way of wearing the lapel.
The reason poppy flowers were chosen was after World War I ended, Europe's poppy population greatly increased. This resulted in poppies symbolizing the bloodshed during battle. Poppies became the official flower after Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields" was published.
The correct way to wear a poppy lapel is on the left side, closest to the heart. The green leaf should be facing up at the 11 o'clock position. This signifies the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
We want to say thank you to every veteran for the dedication and passion you have shown to America and its citizens. We want to open up the comments below for all those to either shout out their loved ones who have served (please add branch) and/or community supportive thoughts to share with our vets.