Memorial Day and Veterans Day are two holidays celebrating those protecting our freedoms: our Soldiers. With the various holidays that honor our military, there is always room for confusion. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Memorial Day vs Veterans Day? With Veterans Day approaching, allow us to help you clear the confusion so you know what you’re celebrating and why. Read on to find out more!
What is Memorial Day vs Veterans Day?
This is a question that many may have in their heads with Veterans Day soon approaching. Not to worry! This article is sure to clear up that confusion. Below, is a run down of the history of each holiday. Read on to gain a better understanding of the differences between the two federal holidays.
History and Origins of Veterans Day
In the question of what the difference is between Memorial Day vs Veterans Day, we first need to understand the historical background.
The History of Veterans Day dates back to the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, November 11, 1918. On this day, the Allied Nations and Germany called a ceasefire and officially put their arms down as an armistice.
A year later, in November 1919, President Wilson claimed the day to celebrate the armistice as an official “Armistice Day” to commemorate those who died serving the country.
In a resolution in June 1926, the United States Congress said that November 11 should be, “commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises that perpetuate peace through goodwill.”
Finalizing the legalization of the date, on May 13 1938, November 11 was officially declared a legal holiday dedicated to world peace and honoring Veterans.
Purpose of Veterans Day
Following WWII, the 83rd Congress in 1954 struck out the word “Armstice” and replaced it with “Veterans.” From then on, November 11 officially served as a day to honor Veterans.
Then, President Eisenhower released the Veterans Day Proclamation, which called on local leaders and appointed a chairman for the Veterans’ Affairs committee to celebrate Veterans Day from the national to the local level.
Understanding the difference between Memorial Day vs Veterans Day illustrates that Veterans Day recognizes those who are serving and those that have previously served. Additionally, it is a day to express gratitude for their service in the military.
This leads us to our next point: the critical differences between Veterans Day vs Memorial Day. Read on to find out more.
Suggested read: Veterans Day Military Deals: 13 Brands You Can’t Miss
The History and Origins of Memorial Day
Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day is quite different in its roots for the celebration of the military.
In 1868, Memorial Day was created to pay respect to and remember fallen heroes.
Many believe that General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic started this holiday. It was on May 30, 1868, that the general had made the decision.
The holiday was born during a commemoration ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 20,000 graves were decorated to honor their service.
The Purpose of Memorial Day
From that day on, Memorial Day served as a day for those who have passed serving the country.
In 1873, New York became the first state to legalize the holiday. Following New York’s footsteps, many states also legalized it.
In 1971, Congress officially declared Memorial Day to occur on the last Monday of May.
Every Memorial Day, there is a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery where the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
So, what exactly are the critical differences between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
Both Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrate the military. However, Memorial Day commemorates the ones who passed during their service, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the ones who serve or previously served.
The two holidays are patriotic and are the official, yearly federal holidays. Veterans Day was created during WW1, whereas Memorial Day was created during the Civil War. These are the critical differences between the meanings of Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Ultimately, Honor Those Who Served
At the end of the day, once you understand the distinction between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, you can appropriately pay tribute to the people who pledged their lives to protect our country.
With Veterans Day coming up on November 11, take the time to remember the day’s purpose!