Veteran’s Day is a tribute to military veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Originating in 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson marked a year since the end of the First World War, the day coincides with other days of remembrance around the world including Armistice Day in the United Kingdom and Remembrance Day across the Commonwealth of Nations. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who died while in service, Veterans Day honors all military veterans, including the living.
Why Veterans Day is Important
A. It’s a chance to thank people for risking their lives to defend America
An estimated 20 percent of Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, according to government statistics, and you’d be surprised at how valuable it can be to veterans to feel valued by civilians for their service and sacrifice.
B. It’s a chance to reflect on the importance of peace
While our military are often thought of in a war context, most veterans will tell you that they risked their lives to defend our fundamental freedoms, and that they value peace much more highly than war. Very few who have seen the real horror of war are anxious to rush into it, and Veterans Day encourages all of us to reflect on the value of harmony in our daily interactions and lives.
C. It draws attention to the challenges facing many veterans
Veterans face disproportionate rates of homelessness, deficits in educational achievement, a struggle to find employment and often, have to deal with devastating wounds. In many cases, post-traumatic stress disorder makes it hard for them to integrate into regular society. By understanding these challenges, we can all reach across those divides and make sure veterans have the best possible chance of having a healthy and fulfilling life after their service.
How to Observe Veterans Day
1. Hire a veteran
Veterans face barriers to employment including lack of preparation for civilian jobs, and unrealistic expectations for the kind of work and salary they can expect when they get home. But many leaving the military may have led troops into battle, often on multiple deployments, and as a result, they make fantastic leaders and employees. If you run a business or are in a position to hire someone who has served, it could make a major difference in their lives.
2. Go for a run
Do a sponsored runfor an organization like Homes for Troops, which assists injured veterans by building homes,and has figured out racing logistics. They specialize in offering support in fundraising so that you can focus on doing the run and raising as much money as you can to support veterans.
3. Offer freebies for veterans
Whether you run a business or work for one, thanking Veterans for their service by offering free products on Veterans Day is a great way of showing your support. Whether it’s tax return help or simply a cup of coffee, what can your business offer to thank a Veteran today?
Veterans Day - Key Moments
Burying an unknown soldier
The unknown soldier from the Vietnam War buried in Arlington National Cemetery was identified in 1998 as Michael Blassie, a 24-year-old pilot shot down in 1972 on the border with Cambodia
Change of name
President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of the day to Veterans Day to honor more than one set of veterans
Woodrow Wilson coined Armistice Day after World War One