At Herbal Goodness, we believe that it is important for all Americans and people around the world to know the history of Veterans Day and why it is celebrated so that we can honor our former service members properly. I believe that for the essence of a day to be truly understood then people need to know what exactly they are celebrating. It is in this knowledge that we understand what it took and the sacrifices that were made and the reason why the day was set aside to celebrate heroes. Veteran’s day is one of such days, previously known as Armistice Day, it is a day set aside to honor men and women who served in the United States Armed forces and were discharged under honorable conditions. It is observed yearly on November 11, along with Remembrance day, because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. However, Veterans Day was known as Armistice day until 1954 when it was renamed.
Most people confuse Veteran’s day with Memorial day but the two are very different. Memorial Day is set aside to celebrate troops who died in the service of their nation.
History of Veteran’s day
In 1945, a world war II veteran from Alabama named Raymond Weeks had an idea to broaden Armistice day in such a way as to celebrate all who served in the military, not just those who died in the war. He led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. After spearheading the first national celebration in 1947 Weeks continued to lead the national celebration annually until he died in 1985. Raymond Weeks was later honored at the white house with the presidential citizenship medal in 1982 by the then president of America, President Reagan.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.¹A few statistics about veterans over the years can be found below:
- 18.2 million living veterans served during at least one war as of 2018.
- 9 percent of veterans are women.
- 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
- 3 million veterans have served in support of the War on Terrorism.
- Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 325,000 were still alive as of 2020.
- 2 million veterans served during the Korean War.
- As of 2019, the top three states with the highest percentage of Veterans were Virginia, Wyoming, and Alaska.
Why is Veterans Day so Important?
There are so many reasons why Veteran’s day is important but here are three reasons:
- It gives us a chance to reflect on the sacrifices several men and women made by taking up the call to defend our country, some of them losing their lives in the process. 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 life.² It also helps us understand the true meaning of peace and the cost of violence and non-diplomatic means of conflict resolution.
- It is a way of saying thank you. Not only did these courageous men and women take up arms to defend or maintain the peace in the country, but they also left behind family and loved ones. Some of which never saw them again. Veterans day allows us the opportunity to let them know that we see them and have not forgotten them and the sacrifices they made towards bringing about a better country and world at large. Studies show that an estimated 20% of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, according to government statistics.² It would mean so much for veterans if they know that they are valued, appreciated, and loved by civilians for their selfless service.
- Sheds light on the welfare of veterans and helps us see how much of an impact we can make in their lives. A lot of veterans struggle with homelessness, unemployment, post-war scars, and debts. They often find it hard to reintegrate into society and suffer from stigma because of their social awkwardness. This is mostly due to the long amount of time spent away from a society filled with love and all that is needed to balance that out is even more love, warmth, and affection. As a society, we should use Veteran’s day as a time to reach and create an enabling environment for our veterans to thrive post-war.
The Best Ways to Celebrate Veteran’s Day
- Give out Gift Boxes to Veterans: A great way to celebrate veteran’s day is to hand out baskets loaded with goodies, gift cards, and coupons to veterans. This is a nice way to show support and appreciation towards them. Also, as a business owner, you could offer price slashes and free services to Veterans as well.
- Employ the Services of a Veteran: A lot of Veterans face great difficulty getting back on their feet and reintegrating into society. But in truth, a lot of veterans are equipped to manage and run a business or perfect a job role successfully. This is because they have been through intense training and discipline regimes and some veterans may have led troops in battles making them great leaders. A great way to celebrate and acknowledge veterans, as business owners, would be to give them equal opportunities to thrive in society and also coordinate workshops, training, and seminars that are geared towards educating them on employable skills.
- www.military.com/veterans-day. Accessed on August 14, 2021.
- nationaltoday.com/veterans-day. Accessed on August 14, 2021.