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Some Interesting Facts about Veteran’s Day

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President Obama lays a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown SoldierEach year on November 11, we commemorate Veteran’s Day. Sadly, it’s a day that is often confused with Memorial Day, and even in places with many Army and Marine bases, the troops and veterans don’t get nearly the recognition they deserve and are entitled to.

There’s a lot of history to Veteran’s Day. It was originally known as Armistice Day, declared in 1919 by Woodrow Wilson at the end of World War I. Later, in 1938, it was declared a federal holiday by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It wasn’t until 1954 that the name was changed to Veteran’s Day to honor all veterans who had served in the US forces, as by that time we had also fought World War II and the Korean War.

Wilson’s original motivations were to designated the day as “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.” This piece of legislature was passed as a federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, at the insistence of several veterans’ service organizations, the 83rd United States Congress amended that piece of legislation, striking the world “Armistice” and injecting “Veterans” in its place and it was signed it into law by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In Washington, DC, the National Ceremony is held on November 11th, beginning precisely at 11am. A wreath is first placed at the base of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before the procession moves on inside to the Memorial Amphitheater, with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and moving speeches are given.

There are things you can do in your own community to show your thanks and support for the troops.

  • Fly our flag outside your home, even if it’s just for one day. If you don’t normally fly the flag, people will realize what it’s all about. If you fly the flag every day, maybe there’s something you can do to make it stand out more, without defacing it.
  • If you see a soldier in uniform, take a minute to stop and say thank you. They risk their lives for us to enjoy our freedoms. If you know someone who has retired from the service, thank them as well.
  • Make a care package to send to the troops overseas. Packages of books, candy, magazines… They’ll enjoy it all. Visit,, and
  • Write a letter to, and become pen pals with, a soldier stationed overseas right now. Having contact with someone back home in the States is a great reminder and morale booster. It can get kinda lonely out in the sand and around the same people all the time, having a new friend, even just through the mail, can mean a lot.
  • Donate blood to the Armed Service Blood Program ( Unlike the Red Cross who gives blood to anyone who needs it, the ASBP is strictly for the United States military. There are currently no collection/donation sites in New York, but they do occasionally do mobile drives, or if you’re already on a road trip, they have a site in DC.

Regardless of where you stand politically, or where you stand on the war, our veterans and our troops deserve nothing less than your utmost respect every day. This is a day meant to honor them and their sacrifices, but it shouldn’t be limited to just one day. We should do it every day. Remember them. Honor them.

–Jenny Waterman is a Copy Editor for The Free George.

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