Veterans Day / Remembrance Day
A very brief history of Veterans Day/Rememberance Day:
As a federal holiday Veterans Day is typically observed on November 11th every year. However, if it occurs on a Sunday then the following Monday is designated as the Federal holiday, and if it occurs on a Saturday then either Saturday or Friday may be designated.
Veterans contribute to American society in many ways; not just during their time in active duty. Throughout our history, military service members have put on their uniforms to protect the values and liberties that this nation was built on. But that doesn’t stop once the uniform comes off and their time in active duty has ended. Veterans take the lessons they have learned and the experiences they’ve gained and continue their service to our nation by strengthening our communities. They become our nation’s leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs. Veterans are the most active volunteers working to improve communities across our country. Service goes beyond the uniform. This Veteran’s Day, we honor the men and women who have worn their uniform who continue to serve our country.
Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day, is technically meant to honor the end of World War One, which occurred at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. But Remembrance Day has long been a time to pay respect to the fallen from all wars. Traditions used to observe Remembrance Day include the wearing of poppies, and a two-minute silence at 11 AM on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Although Veterans Day is observed in the U.S. on November 11, Remembrance Day functions elsewhere in the world are more closely related to Memorial Day in May.
So why are poppies worn on Remembrance Day? The poppy grew into a symbol of the fallen thanks to the poetry of a Canadian military physician, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He wrote In Flanders Fields, which includes the following:
In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
According to the British Legion official site, “Bright red Flanders poppies (Papaver rhoeas) however, were delicate but resilient flowers and grew in their thousands, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction.” Today, many organizations use the poppy in fundraising and awareness efforts associated with Remembrance Day.
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