Why You Shouldn't Thank A Veteran On Memorial Day

May 24, 2019

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Many national holidays are pretty clear-cut.  Independence Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day and Flag Day are straightforward holidays.  That's not necessarily true for holidays in which we honor the contributions of those who have served in the United States military. Monday we observe Memorial Day and in about six months we observe Veterans Day on November 11th. In fact many Americans celebrate the three day weekend by thanking a service member or veteran for their service. While the intention is genuine, a recent poll found that only 55% of American knew the meaning of Memorial Day and only 23% plan to fly the flag at half-staff, an tribute not done on Veterans Day. Perhaps knowing the origins of Memorial and Veterans Day will help you understand the difference. Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day and first observed in 1919 marking the one year anniversary of the end of "the war to end all wars'" World war I; a day in which was celebrated as the end of war. IT became a U.S. national holiday in 1938, just one year before the start of World War II. So in 1954, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day to recognize veterans of the two world wars. The intention is to celebrate all military veterans, living or dead, who have served the country, with an emphasis on thanking those in our lives who have spent time in uniform. On the other hand, Memorial Day is observed as a day to remember those who have died while serving their country and dates back to the civil war in which communities organized tributes around the gravesites of fallen soldiers. The observance of fallen soldiers grew after World War I as the day became more than a remembrance of the Civil war as we also remember those who perished in all of America's conflicts. Memorial Day and was declared a federal holiday in 1971 as permanently moved to the last Monday of Mya creating a three-day weekend. Perhaps it is why many Americans view Memorial Day as a day of celebration when it's intent is much more somber. Perhaps an easier way to think of the two holidays is to consider Veterans Day a time to shake the hand of a veteran who stood up for our freedoms. Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who are no longer around to receive your gratitude personally.

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SOURCE: Mental Floss

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