Memorial Day and Veterans Day
Memorial Day dates to the end of the U.S. Civil War. Originally it was known as Declaration Day and was set for May 5th of each year. Decoration Day occurred when the gravesites of all Civil War veterans, both Confederate and Union, would be decorated with flowers to honor their lives and service. At the end of the 19th century, Decoration Day had come to be known as Memorial Day. Most places held ceremonies on May 30th of each year, again to honor those who died in the Civil War. It was not until the end of World War I that Memorial Day was expanded to honor all war dead from American wars. Some places still refer to Memorial Day as Decoration Day, but it is one and the same. In 1971 Memorial Day was declared a national holiday and was set on the last Monday in May of each year.
Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Most seem to think that both are essentially the same thing and treat each day as the same, but that is incorrect.
Memorial Day is for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in military combat while serving our great nation, those servicemen and women who died while engaged in actual battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Memorial Day isn't a day for honoring all veterans, nor is it a day for honoring those veterans who have died from non-combat related situations. Memorial Day is strictly a day for honoring those who paid the ultimate price and lost their lives as a result of military combat.
Veterans Day is set aside for military personnel who died in a noncombat-related events and are remembered and honored for their service. Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank all military personnel who served honorably in the military during wartime or peacetime and both past and present.
Please help to educate people on the differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
At some point on those busy holidays, take a moment of silence to reflect and honor those who paid the ultimate price with their lives. It is because of them that you can live yours in freedom.
Jeff Davis County Veterans Association