Veterans Day: Just Memorial Day, Part 2?

veterans-day-2009Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and it often seems like we focus on having a day off of work or school more than we do the holiday and its meaning. Perhaps it is because we don’t quite understand the holiday’s intent, seeing it rather as a “recycled” Memorial Day. Even the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs web site is aware of the conflation, and address it in its FAQ:

Q. What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

A. Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.

The Memorial Day Foundation web site also has an explanation of the differences and includes some historical information, as well.

If you’d like some ideas on how to honor a veteran this Veterans Day–or any day–this list from United We Serve is a great place to start. It includes 10 ways to support and honor veterans, including things as simple as visiting, creating a care package, or just saying,”Thank You.”

How do you plan to honor a veteran this year? Do you have a veteran in your family that you’d like to honor in the comments? Tell us about him or her!

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