On Wednesday, please take a moment to honor veterans of our great nation through words or gestures of appreciation on Veterans Day. This federal holiday isn’t just a time for companies to offer freebies – though we know our veterans love them! Historically, it’s an official day to honor living veterans who either currently serve or who have previously served in any branch of the American armed forces. This is in contrast to Memorial Day, which remembers our veterans who died while serving our nation in uniform.
What we now know as Veterans Day was originally celebrated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919. This celebration was meant to recognize those who died in “the war to end all wars,” and give thanks for the victory yielded through an armistice (a temporary cessation of hostilities) signed on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918. Armistice Day was officially changed to Veterans Day when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law on Oct. 8, 1954. This change was due to a shift in focus from honoring World War I veterans to honoring American veterans of all wars.
While we as a nation daily enjoy the freedom brave men and women have secured and maintained, Nov. 11th is an especially poignant day on which to honor them. As you spend the day honoring the veterans among us, please keep in mind that while there are many healthy veterans, there are also many who struggle every day to cope with the impact their service has had on them.
Whether left with physical or emotional scarring, a simple and heartfelt “Thank you,” a note acknowledging their sacrifices, or a free meal can go a long way toward helping them get through the day. That one small act (#1SmallAct) of kindness could stop them from becoming one of the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day. So, even if you don’t volunteer with veterans groups year-round, make it a point, at least on Veteran’s Day, to thank a veteran (#ThankAVet) for protecting your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We’d love to hear from you! Please share what you’ve done to honor a veteran lately in our comments section or post it to Twitter with #ThankAVet and/or #IDriveWarships.