A Look Back on Veterans Day
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and marked the anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11, 1919. Americans now celebrate Veterans Day on that same date. Armistice Day honored the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers who fell during The Great War. In 1926, Congress requested President Calvin Coolidge issue an annual proclamation to make Armistice Day a legal holiday.
After the horrors of World War II, Navy veteran Raymond Weeks had the idea to expand the existing Armistice Day to a day that honored all veterans rather than just the soldiers who perished in the First World War. Weeks took the idea to General Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the concept. Weeks then organized the first Veterans Day celebration in Alabama and held one every year from 1945 until he died in 1985. Ed Rees, a U.S. Representative from Kansas, took the idea to establish it as a proper holiday. Dwight Eisenhower, now president, signed the bill into law in May of 1954, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. The legislation was approved on June 1 of that year marking November 11 as a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Veterans Day is sometimes confused with Memorial Day. The distinction, however, is essential; the two holidays are not synonymous. Memorial Day is more somber and honors those who have died in war, while Veterans Day recognizes the service of all America’s veterans.
In August 2001, the United States Senate passed Resolution 143. This designated the week of November 11, 2001 through November 17, 2001 as National Veterans Awareness Week. The resolution was designed to put a greater educational effort in elementary and secondary schools in the United States to teach students about the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.
Veterans by Numbers
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, there are about 19 million veterans living in the United States; that represents less than 10% of the total adult population. This number continues to decline as we see the number of people on active duty dropping significantly since the Vietnam era and the end of the draft in 1973. There are still about 167,000 (out of the original 16 million Americans) alive today who participated in World War II, and almost two million veterans who served during the Korean War, often referred to as The Forgotten War. Add to these numbers the millions of veterans who fought for freedom around the world in what were termed ‘conflicts’ instead of wars.
Freedom Isn’t Free
We all know a veteran we can honor and thank this November – whether it is our brother, father, sister, aunt, cousin, neighbor, co-worker, or friend. When we thank a veteran for their service, we acknowledge the gratitude we feel for their dedicated service protecting the United States and its citizens at home and abroad. They are the reason we can enjoy the lifestyles we do today.
How You Can Honor a Veteran This Month
Celebrating Veterans Day is about our armed forces, but it also encourages us to reflect on the harmony and peace that we enjoy daily in the United States, and often take for granted.
We invite you to seek out ways to celebrate and honor veterans in your community this year. Some examples of ways to do this include supporting veteran-owned businesses, hiring a veteran seeking employment after leaving active duty, celebrating a life of service through volunteer work, or simply sending a card and thanking a veteran in your life.
At Polly Products, we share the humble values and beliefs that our nation was founded on. We manufacture our products right here in the United States, using operations that protect the environment. By honoring our country and environment, we hope to also honor those who have selflessly chosen to serve our country.
Polly Products offers a wide selection of Veteran Memorial plaques and products. Designed for the sole purpose of honoring a veteran in your life, our plaques, memory pavers, and veteran benches enable you to create a unique tribute worthy of the veteran being recognized.
However, while called Veteran Memorial products, our items can also be customized to celebrate any personal hero in your life. This could include civic leaders, police officers, firefighters, first responders, teachers, or anyone else that works towards the greater good and has left a lasting contribution to their community, company, or cause.
When you purchase one of our veteran or memorial products, please remember you are not only showing your gratitude and support to someone near and dear to you but also supporting a company that works towards protecting the environment through thoughtful and green products. Visit our website today to see our full catalog of products and read more about our company and community.
And to our veterans, our most sincere thanks for your selfless service so we may enjoy another day of freedom.