Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, on the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1938 it became a national holiday. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. Soon the holiday evolved to also honoring living military Veterans with parades and speeches.
Sadly, I believe, for most Americans Veterans day has become just another paid day off of work or an opportunity for holiday pay. It’s an excuse for department stores and car dealerships to promote huge sales and draw in crowds between the start of school and Black Friday. Within 24 hours after the election was over, TV ads were replaced by Veterans Day sale ads; cars, clothes, furniture, food, etc.
This year I am a bit sensitive to the importance Veterans Day. At IDEAS we are working with the Veterans Administration in developing better patience experiences in multiple clinics around the country. Right now we hearing the powerful stories of Veterans who severed our country from WWII to just a month ago. For my family, a couple years ago we lost my wife’s grandfather, Richard Redman, who was one of those brave men to storm the beaches and survive D-Day. In life, he was a private man who never spoke of what he experienced in the war at least not until one of my sons, at a young age, asked him about it.
I challenge you, on this Veterans Day weekend, in addition to saving 50% when purchasing another winter coat, find a Veteran in your community and tell them “Thank You” for serving our country and listen to their stories. Attend a Veterans Day parade and celebrate the freedom we all share because of them. Then, visit a local cemetery and place a stone on the marker of a Veteran who has passed away.
For more information on the history of Veterans Day, location of celebrations and National Cemeteries visit www.va.gov/opa/vetsday.