Veterans Day is always a special day of remembrance but this year it has the added distinction of marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Here are five things you should know about Veterans Day this year:
This is the 100th anniversary year
Before Nov. 11 became Veterans Day it was observed as Armistice Day, which marked the day World War I ended in a ceasefire at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary of that agreement between the Allies and Germany. First recognized in 1919, Armistice Day is still observed by some people around the world who stop at the 11th hour on Nov. 11 for a moment of silence. In 1954, with the return of veterans from World War II and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill designating Nov. 11 as Veterans Day.
The difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day
There is still some confusion about the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Both are patriotic holidays but Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday in May, honors men and women who died while serving in the military, particularly those who died in battle or after being wounded in battle. Veterans Day on Nov. 11 honors the courage and sacrifice of all men and women who honorably served in the military during times of war or peace. This includes those who lost their lives but it is mainly intended to show our appreciation to living veterans.
The official 2018 Veterans Day poster features a poppy
This year is also the 40th anniversary of the Veterans Day Poster contest that began in 1978. Each year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has asked artists around the country to submit work to the Veterans Day National Committee, which selects the official poster commemorating Veterans Day from hundreds of entries. For 2018, the winning poster features the image of a poppy, which has been a symbol of remembrance since Lt. Col. John McCrae was inspired to write the poem “In Flanders Fields” after seeing poppies growing on the battlefields.
This year Veterans Day is a three-day celebration
In 2018 Veterans Day falls on Sunday, Nov. 11, which means there are celebrations taking place over three days. On Saturday there are parades and other events taking place. On Sunday, the actual observation of Veterans Day, brings a number of commemorative events. The federal holiday is observed on Monday, which means all federal and state government offices will be closed.
It wouldn’t be Veterans Day without deals
On Veterans Day, it has become tradition for retailers, cultural institutions and more to show appreciation to veterans by offering freebies, deals and discounts to active and retired military. Sometimes the deals apply only to veterans. Sometimes the discounts may be extended to family members. See here for a list of freebies and deals this year.