What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day – Why is veterans day important

memorial day vs veterans day difference

What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

When is Memorial Day and when is Veterans Day?

Memorial Day and Veterans Day are held approximately six months apart: Veterans Day is celebrated every 11 November, while Memorial Day takes place on the last Monday of May as part of a three-day weekend that usually includes parades and retail sales. Packed with promotions. This year, that will be Monday, May 30, 2022. You probably realize that both holidays are intended to acknowledge the contributions of brave individuals who have served in the United States military, but you might not miss the key difference between the two. So what’s the difference?

when was veterans day first celebrated

Veterans Day used to be Armistice Day

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. It was first celebrated on November 11, 1919, the one year anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 to make it an annual observance.

It became a national holiday in 1938. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name from Armistice Day 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 to serve this country.

Who does Memorial Day honor?

Memorial Day is also a celebration of military veterans, but the mood is more gloomy. This opportunity is reserved for those who died while serving their country.  The day was first observed in the wake of the Civil War, where local communities paid tribute around the graves of martyred soldiers. The observance was originally called Decoration Day because the tombs were decorated with flowers.

It was originally held on 30 May because that date was not specifically the anniversary of any battle and could be awarded to all soldiers. (The date was recognized by the northern states, with the southern states choosing different days.) After World War I, the day changed from remembering those who fell in the Civil War, who died in all of America’s conflicts. It gradually became known as Memorial Day and was declared a federal holiday and moved to the last Monday in May to hold a three-day weekend beginning in 1971.

The easiest way to think of the two holidays is to think of Veterans Day as a time to shake hands with a veteran who stood up for our freedom. Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who are no longer there to receive your gratitude personally. 

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