What Do We Really Mean by “Veterans Day”?

by Wiz

in Podcasts

Here in the US, there are two days during the year where we specifically honor and remember those men and women who served in the Armed Forces.  Memorial Day is for paying tribute those who are no longer with us: those who lost their lives in active service, particularly those who died in battle or from wounds received in battle.  The idea originated in the immediate aftermath of our Civil War as a way to remember the countless numbers of those killed in that horrific conflict. 

Veterans Day, on the other hand, is much different.  For while we also remember those who have died, this day is for thanking all living veterans for their service, whether active or reserve, wartime or peacetime, a single “hitch” or a career.  Military service regardless of branch always has attendant risk and sacrifice, and Veterans Day is a way to gratefully acknowledge those who accepted and endured them.

They’re two very different occasions: Memorial Day is solemn, quiet and introspective, while Veterans Day is a celebration.  And yet in our culture the distinctions can sometimes become blurred.  There are arguably many opinions on why this seems to be the case, but as I outline in the audio, I believe major contributing factors are how they each evolved and their timing (where they fall in the calendar). 

I’m technically a day late with this, but whether you observe “Veterans Day”, “Armistice Day”, “Remembrance Day” or “Poppy Day”, I send my best wishes to all current and former service men and women!  Thank you for everything you do in the service of your country!  (4:26)

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