I have previously written about my pet peeve about certain people here in the U.S. turning every even slightly patriotic holiday into a day to thank veterans for their service. That is not what you’re supposed to do on Memorial Day (or as my grandmother always called it, Decoration Day), and most veterans will be mildly annoyed if you do on that day, since that day is meant to honor the dead, not the living.
But today is the holiday where you are supposed to thank veterans for their service!
So, thank you!
Americans have called it Veteran’s Day since 1954 — a day to honor those who have served in the military. Our allies still refer to this holiday by its original name: Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. We Americans barely study World War I in public school history classes, and when we do, it seldom includes the whole story: How did the first world war actually end?
November 11, 1918 was the day that the peace accord went into effect ending what was then called The Great War. And so each year after we set aside a day to honor those who served, to remember their sacrifices, and pledge to work to prevent wars from happening. At least that’s what we used to say. Since the U.S. came into the Great War later than the other countries, and it wasn’t fought on our territory, and the number of U.S. troops killed was a small fraction of the casualty totals of the war, we have never looked at Armistice Day quite the way our allies did. WWII was what loomed large for us, culturally.
In the U.S. this holiday is described as a day to honor and thank veterans for their military service. To me, one of the ways we ought to thank them for their service is to find ways to end wars and bring them home. Unfortunately I get the feeling from certain politicians and pundits that trying to find ways to start even more wars is what they are interested in doing.
Regardless, if you want to show support for those who served, may I humbly suggest donating to National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.