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Essay on Veterans Day

Veterans Day: What Is It and Why Is It Significant?

On November 11 each year, Veterans Day is observed in the USA. This is a day marked out in the country’s annual calendar so that people can pay tribute to the men and the women who have made such sacrifices and given so selflessly of their lives to serve their country as members of the USA’s armed forces. This essay will set out the reasons for Veterans Day and explore its origins. It will also look at the importance of observing this particular day.  

The date designated to Veterans Day – November 11- is symbolic in itself and this is the reason it was chosen as an appropriate day to honor veterans and all military personnel. It was at 11.00 am on November 11 in 1918 that the World War I came to an end. Essentially, conflict ended on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month that year. Armistice Day was first introduced and celebrated in 1926 when an unknown US soldier was laid to rest at a place that represents high honor in the USA – Arlington National Cemetery. There were also similar ceremonies at notable sites in the UK and France – at Westminster Abbey and at Arc de Triomphe respectively. From then on, Armistice Day – officially declared a national holiday in 1938 – would become an annual celebration to honor every person who had played his or her part in the First World War. While WWI was widely dubbed a war that would ‘end all wars’, peace was short-lived and, in 1939, World War II began. When that war came to an end and it was widely realized that further wars would inevitably follow, Armistice Day was renamed in 1954, becoming officially known as Veterans Day. This day would be a national holiday honoring all American veterans who had previously served in war, were presently serving, or would serve in the future.

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Veterans Day and Memorial Day often become confused, but the way these days differ is quite simple. Held on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day is a day for remembering every man and woman who died serving their country. By contrast, Veterans Day is a day of celebration and a way of thanking all US military personnel – dead and alive – for their service. Essentially, the objective of Veterans Day is to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by members of the military so that US citizens can retain their freedom, something that is all too often taken for granted. 

This then brings us to the importance of celebrating Veterans Day. When the day was first officially pronounced a holiday, it was meant to be a day for parades, public meetings, and a day when businesses would not trade for at least the time surrounding 11.00 am or indeed the entire day as a gesture of respect. Nowadays, however, it would appear that less people are taking part in these activities, mostly because there is no legal obligation not to operate business activities on Veterans Day. Still, it is extremely important for the citizens of America to put time aside to celebrate the men and women who fight on their behalf. Everyone is sufficiently lucky to live in a land that is relatively free. This is a great deal to be thankful to veterans for. These men and women are very courageous to put their lives at stake to ensure others can enjoy the freedoms taken for granted every day. If purely for this reason, surely it is not much to ask that we dedicate one day out of the year to say thank you. Another reason why Veterans Day is important is that it is not only the serving members of the military who make sacrifices for security and freedom. There are the families of those service personnel to consider. They, too, have had to sacrifice many things.

To conclude, it cannot be denied that Veterans Day is a hugely important holiday in the national calendar, a day for celebrating the USA’s military veterans irrespective of what war they have participated in. Observance of Veterans Day is of the utmost importance to ensure we properly honor the courageous people who serve on our behalf. When one considers the enormous risks they face, it must be acknowledged that each member of the military is willing to put their life on the line for what they believe is right. For doing this, each one deserves to be honored in an appropriate way on the day designated for this purpose.