Veterans Day Challenge

November 11 marks the yearly celebration of Veterans day. It comes the day after the Marine Corps birthday. I can’t think of a better way to possibly spend the month of November. November is the month that is often the beginning of the holiday season. It hosts Thanksgiving. I can’t think of a better idea than to start Thanksgiving a little early and really show your gratitude to the veterans of this country.

Why November 11 for Veterans day?

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Initially, I was confused on why we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th. I mean it’s so close to the Marine Corps Birthday, shouldn’t we give them a little space in between?

Well, according to Military.com, November 11th was originally called Armistice Day and was dedicated to the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. At the time, this was the “War to end all Wars,” but we failed at that. 

Following World War II and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954. That way it included those that served in the major conflicts following World War I. There was a small push to call it Mayflower Day in honor of the signing of the Mayflower Compact, which is the cornerstone of the Declaration of Independence.

After the name change, there was an attempt to make Veterans Day on the 4th Monday of October, but this was a total disaster. President Gerald Ford signed a document that moved the holiday back to the original November 11th in 1975. 

How To Celebrate Veterans Day

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It’s no secret that Veterans Day only gets the proper celebration is deserves by the military and veterans in which it is honoring. We need to change that. 

Instead of just thinking of Veterans Day as “an extra day off from school or work,” we need to look at some better ways to honor the men and women that have served.

Since 2001 the time from November 11th through November 17th has been called National Veterans Awareness Week. This was an effort raised by congress aimed at educating elementary and secondary school youth into learning the importance of veterans and what good they do for the country in service as well as how they contribute after service. 

It’s important to note that Veterans Day is NOT Memorial Day. 

I repeat: Veterans Day is NOT Memorial Day.

The biggest difference between the two holidays is that Memorial Day is specifically a memorial for the men and women that lost their lives from their service. This can include people that passed during service or from injuries sustained during service. 

I know this may sound harsh, but Memorial Day is not to celebrate the veteran that was in a car crash back home. It is specifically for those that were injured and lost their lives directly involved from their military service. 

Veterans Day on the other hand, is to celebrate the lives of men and women that served in any capacity. It is much more broad. If there is any military service involved in any way, then it can be celebrated on Veterans Day.

A small way to show your appreciation is to realize that there should be no apostrophe when writing out “Veterans Day.” 

The reason for this is because the Veterans don’t own the day, which is what an apostrophe would indicate. Instead, it is a day that has been dedicated to veterans. Also, not a single veteran, but a multitude. That is why it is plural and not possessive. 

Language and grammar lesson over.

Lastly, I challenge everyone to go above and beyond this Veterans Day. 

A simple thank you is nice, but go out and do something for the Veterans. There is a recent Newsweek article talking about how 49% of veterans are uncomfortable with being thanked for their service. It is often seen like someone thanking someone who is just doing their job. You may say ‘thanks’ to the taxi driver or the waiter, but they are literally doing their job and it’s unnecessary. This is how some military personnel feel. 

Instead of just saying thanks, show it. 

You can ask the veterans about their service, or give them a little treat in honor of their service. 

There is a common phrase I heard growing up in church, and my dad, a pastor really drove it home with us kids: “Faith without works is useless.” 

I like to take this to a secular standpoint as well: Words without works are useless.

I can say I like something all I want, but until I put action behind it, it’s meaningless. 

Don’t make your appreciation meaningless. If you want to shop; shop veteran owned or somewhere that gives a lot back to the military. If you want to do something a little proactive, go to a retirement home and talk to people that have served. They’re all people. 

That’s my challenge for this Veterans Day. Make your ‘thanks’ a little more personal.

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