Veterans Day ... Not Veteran's Day
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has an apt explanation for this. It says, it is not a day that 'belongs' to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.
The other day I came to know that the practice of wearing poppies in honor of soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country is traditionally associated with Memorial Day, and not Veterans Day. It's a different thing that today people wear crepe-paper poppies on both occasions, but that's how it started. And that's not the only difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day!
Memorial Day Vs. Veterans Day
Over a period of time, the practice of wearing poppies has become synonymous to both, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, such that it doesn't serve as a point of distinction between the two anymore. But beyond remembrance poppies, there do exist many differences between the two. For a start, Memorial Day is when we remember those who sacrificed their lives for us, while Veterans Day is when we thank living veterans for their service to the nation.
|Memorial Day||Veterans Day|
|Meaning||In the United States, Memorial Day is observed in honor of soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country; who died on the battlefield or as a result of injuries sustained during battle.||Veterans Day is observed in honor of all the soldiers who have served or are currently serving in the United States armed forces. It is to acknowledge their contribution to our security.|
|Day/Date||Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May.||Veterans Day is observed on every November 11.|
|History||In the aftermath of the Civil War, people started placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers in their honor. It became an annual affair, starting from 1882, when former Maj. Gen. John A. Logan established May 30 as Decoration Day. (Its name was formally changed to Memorial Day in 1882.)||In 1926, Congress declared November 11 as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I. In 1954, the then President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill renaming Armistice Day to Veterans Day, to honor veterans of all wars, not just WWI. The idea was first proposed by Congressman Edward H. Rees (R-Kan).|
|Federal Holiday||When the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was signed into law on June 28, 1968, Memorial Day became a federal holiday, which was to be observed on the last Monday of May―w.e.f. January 1, 1971. Earlier, Memorial Day was observed on May 30 every year.||On May 13, 1938, Congress made Armistice Day a legal holiday, to be observed on every November 11. When the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed, it was moved to the fourth Monday of October, before it was moved back to November 11, in 1978.|
Leave alone Memorial Day and Veterans Day, some people tend to get confused between these two and Labor Day. So just to clear the air, Labor Day is observed on the first Monday of September, to acknowledge American workers' social and economic contributions to the nation, and has nothing to do with the armed forces.