Veterans Day is our annual national holiday on November 11th. Its genesis was the World War I armistice declared at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Originally commemorated as Armistice Day in 1919 by presidential proclamation and congressional resolution, it became Veterans Day in 1954 by federal law enacted by Congress and signed by 34th President Dwight Eisenhower.
This recognition of our military veterans pays tribute to those patriotic men and women, living or deceased, who served our country honorably in the US Armed Forces during war or peace for any length of service and are no longer serving. There are 18.8 million veterans living in the United States.
Veterans Day is a legal federal holiday and official flag display day pursuant to 5 United States Code 6103. All federal government offices are closed. State, county and city governments are requested to fly the American flag. Flag handling requirements are found at 4 United States Code 1. The correct spelling is the attributive “Veterans Day” with no apostrophe (i.e. Veterans’ Day or Veteran’s Day is incorrect).
Parades, ceremonies, celebrations and events honoring our veterans are held throughout the country. A ceremonial wreath laying by our President is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Today we honor the service of those who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. To our proud veterans – I will be a commander in chief who respects your sacrifices, understands your service, and will never betray the values you fought so bravely to defend.” – 46th President Joseph Biden
Veterans Day should not be confused with “Memorial Day” on the last Monday in May memorializing military members who gave their lives in the service of our country or “Armed Forces Day” on the 3rd Saturday in May honoring men and women currently serving in the military. Veterans Day is for those who hung up their uniform. Memorial Day is for those who never made it out of their uniform. Armed Forces Day is for those still serving in their uniform. We recognize three different military service categories with three distinct national observances.
The military sworn service oath is to support and defend “the Constitution of the United States…and bear true faith and allegiance to the same”. Military veterans know we are one nation under our Constitution and it is the Constitution in which we trust. Fidelity to the Constitution was an essential element of their faithful service as it continues to be for all military men and women serving today. Veterans who participated in the anti-American attack on the US Capitol damaging federal property and assaulting federal personnel are recommended for more severe punishment by federal prosecutors because of their demonstrated disrespect for the Constitution and prior service oaths to the Constitution.
“We do not take an oath to a king or queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution…and will protect and defend that document regardless of personal price.” declared General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America’s top military officer, at the National Museum of the United States Army opening on November 11, 2020.
Veterans Day honors all veterans and is a special time for remembering and respecting those who have rendered honorable military service to the United States of America.
This year please remember with special gratitude the patriotic veterans who served in the War on Terror throughout the Middle East during the last two decades. These brave military men and women did everything our country required of them to fight terrorism. Another terrorist attack on our homeland was prevented and the terrorist responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks was eliminated as well as thousands of other international terrorists.
Over 5 million American military members were deployed during this extended warfare against terrorism. Our military suffered 7,052 killed, 50,422 wounded and thousands more diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Former President George and Laura Bush issued a joint statement expressing compassion for the sacrifices of those Americans serving during this prolonged conflict – “Many of you deal with wounds of war, both visible and invisible. And some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage.”
Brigadier General, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation