In Case You Didn’t Know? Now You Know the Difference

For those that ask the question what’s the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, which happen to be two similar holidays to honor Americans who have served and fought for our country?

Here is the breakdown for you and how to explain it to your little ones.  Memorial Day falls on the last  Monday of May every year, creating a nice long weekend to kick off summer,  Veterans Day, on the other hand, falls annually on Nov. 11 and serves an entirely different purpose.

What Memorial Day and Veterans Day honor

  • Memorial Day: This holiday honors military personnel who died in service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.
  • Veterans Day: This holiday honors everyone who has served in the military, whether or not they served in wartime or died in battle.

How Memorial Day and Veterans Day are observed

  • Memorial Day: Many people visit cemeteries and memorials to pay tribute to loved ones,  volunteers often decorate the graves at national cemeteries with American flags, placing one on each grave.  Memorial Day also Kicks off the official start to summer so many people run to the store and buy decorations for their homes, and many towns hold annual parades as well. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time.
  • Veterans Day: Normally, towns hold parades, churches schedule special services and families—military families and others—come together to thank living veterans for their service and remember all who have served.

How Memorial Day and Veterans Day originated

  • Memorial Day: This holiday was first celebrated a year after the end of the Civil War, which claimed more lives than any other conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the nation’s first national cemeteries. Until 1971, the holiday was known as “Decoration Day” in reference to the decoration of graves.
  • Veterans Day: The first celebration was on Nov. 11, 1919, to commemorate the end of World War I. Hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Until 1954, Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day.

Is Memorial Day only for fallen soldiers?

Memorial Day is dedicated only to those who died in battle or after injuries sustained in battle, rather than active-duty soldiers or living veterans.

Does Veterans Day honor all veterans?

Yes, Veterans Day honors all veterans.

Another day to keep members of the military in mind

Another holiday honoring members of the military is Armed Forces Day, which honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. It is observed after May Day, which is May 1.

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