Each November, the weather begins to cool and the winter holiday season is right around the corner. But before we get to official (and unofficial) holidays like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, and Hanukkah, we take time to celebrate our veterans who have bravely served the nation.
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and commemorated the end of the first World War. Armistice Day was first celebrated on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the war’s ending. The purpose of the holiday was to pay tribute to the allied soldiers who lost their lives in what was described as “the war to end all wars”.
In the United States, the holiday was adjusted in 1954 to be a day to recognize and honor American Veterans, living and dead, who have served in the military. Veterans make many sacrifices to afford us the freedoms we enjoy at home. Veterans Day is a day to thank them for serving and celebrate the freedoms they’ve protected.
Besides just honoring our living veterans, the holiday also pays respects to the fallen. Each year a national ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery on November 11th at 11 am. During the ceremony, color guards from each branch of the military present arms, Taps is played, and a presidential wreath is laid at the monument.
Around the globe, many allied nations take part and hold a holiday on November 11th to honor their veterans, both living and deceased.
The United Kingdom actually has two celebrations to honor veterans. From late October up until Armistice Day, the Royal British Legion distributes more than 40 million poppies for people to wear and show respect. Remembrance Day is held on the second Sunday of November each year. It is basically the equivalent to Memorial Day in the United States and honors veterans who have lost their lives while serving. The second holiday is Armistice Day which is celebrated on November 11th. A two minute moment of silence is held at 11 am to pay respects to all members of the military.
Canada has similar customs to the UK and hold Remembrance Day on November 11th. Just like the UK, poppys are worn on the days leading up to the holiday. A moment of silence is also observed at 11 am for 2 minutes. The official ceremony is held at the National War Memorial and includes several customs similar to the US ceremony.
Just as Canada celebrates Remembrance Day, ceremonies are held by more than 50 other nations who are also a part of the Commonwealth. These countries include Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa to name a few. Each nation’s celebration are quite similar and include the poppy.
In France, Armistice Day is a very important holiday. Nearly 2 million French soldiers and civilians died during World War 1. Armistice Day is held on November 11th just like other allied nations. Churches hold remembrance services, military parades are organized, and wreaths are laid at war monuments. Rather than wearing a poppy, the people of France wear the bleuet de France which is a blue cornflower.
The are several ways to celebrate Veterans Day and say thanks. For a more complete list of ideas, check this list of 45 ways to honor a veteran by the US Department of Veteran Affairs.
Here are a few ideas of different ways your funeral home can take part in Veterans Day and show your appreciation.
From all of us at FrontRunner, we thank our veterans for the many sacrifices they have made for us. Answering the call of duty to serve your nation takes immense bravery. We thank all those who have served for protecting our people and the freedoms we enjoy.
Tommy holds a Communications degree from Laurentian University and an Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College. He is a Content Marketing Specialist at FrontRunner and focuses on producing engaging content that funeral homes can use to connect with families. In addition, Tommy crafts SEO content for clients and specializes in helping the general public connect with the death care industry as a whole.