Many times there can be confusion about the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Both days are very important both they highlight different types of sacrifice. There are some holidays you may not have even heard of like Armed Forces Day. This article is for you if you want clarification as to what they all are.
Veterans Day is for people who have served in the military as they are veterans and this day honors the sacrifices they have made. There is much debate on whether you would thank the family for their service on Veterans Day as they have not take an oath or served in the military. However, military families do indeed serve even though they don’t wear a uniform. We are separated from one member of our family, constantly moving, and handle family responsibilities and obligations. Many people understand this, however, not all. Even if they don’t understand your value, know that many people do and you should to. I believe this is why President Trump made November National Veterans and Military Families Month.
Remembrance Day/Armistice Day-this is basically like our Veterans Day but with a greater emphasis on the servicemembers that died in the First World War, though this is why Veterans Day is on the November 11th every year. On this day there is a two minute silence at 11am when the Armistice was signed in the whole of the UK. Churches and trains both stop service so that everyone can remember.
It seems to be more widely celebrated and focused on in the UK, probably because it impacted them more directly. At my chapel, I had the fortune of speaking to a wonderful woman who remembers attacks on Cambridge during the wars. What sparked this conversation was the red poppy she wore. Her friend made it for her. The red poppy is a symbol of hope and honor because they were one of the only plants that grew in the field where men died for eventual peace. The red poppy was started by the Royal British Legion, an organization that helps British servicemembers adjust to civilian life much like our Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). They sell poppy merchandise for small suggested donations. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to veterans and their families. If you’re in the UK you can go to Remembrance events like this.
Memorial Day is to honor those that died in wars or while serving. This is different from Veteran’s Day because the focus is on remembering the fallen. It is celebrated the last Monday in May. Memorial Day isn’t celebrated in the UK but many times the late bank holiday will coincide with it.
Armed Forces Day is a day to honor current active duty members and their families. This is celebrated the 3rd Saturday in May usually with military related events with displays from all services and parades.
Regardless of what day it is or how it’s celebrated; it’s important to remember our military members past and present, alive or perished to remember what they did. It’s also important to recognize families for their sacrifices even if they didn’t serve in a formal sense. These holidays help remind us how important these military affiliated people are, and that sometimes includes us (so thank you spouses and military brats!) Let’s celebrate their value and our own!