Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day in the US, Armistice or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world

I've always tried to observe Veterans Day,

whether I was playing in AEDM or not.  Per the Veterans Administration (va.gov):
A number of countries honor their veterans each year on November 11, although the name and types of commemorations differ somewhat from Veterans Day celebrations in the United States. For example, Canada and Australia observe "Remembrance Day" on November 11, and Great Britain observes "Remembrance Day" on the Sunday nearest to November 11. There are similarities and differences between these countries' Remembrance Day and America's Veterans Day. Canada's observance is actually quite similar to the U.S. celebration, in that the day is intended to honor all who served in Canada's Armed Forces. However, unlike in the U.S., many Canadians wear red poppy flowers on November 11 in honor of their war dead. In Australia, Remembrance Day is very much like America's Memorial Day, a day to honor that nation's war dead.

In Great Britain, the day is commemorated by church services and parades of ex-service members in Whitehall, a wide ceremonial avenue leading from London's Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square. Wreaths of poppies are left at the Cenotaph, a war memorial in Whitehall, which was built after the First World War. At the Cenotaph and elsewhere in the country, a two-minute silence is observed at 11 a.m., to honor those who lost their lives in wars.
Speaking of Great Britain, my internet friend Janet at Tattered 'n Worn was in London this September and allowed me to use one of her gorgeous photos of the poppies that have now taken over the Tower of London moat.  The poppies represent the 888,246 British servicemen who lost their lives in WWI.  This is the 100th anniversary of that war, and is a chilling reminder that each poppy represents a life. Janet wrote when she took this photo (and others):
With nearly two months worth of poppies yet to be placed, it is already a dramatic presentation.
I saw an overhead shot of the moat on a TV special a few days ago, and I agree with Janet that it was truly "dramatic."

I was sure I remembered my Grandfather buying poppies for us to wear on Veterans Day,
but again, according to the VA:
The wearing of poppies in honor of America's war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day. The practice of wearing of poppies takes its origin from the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae.
As an aside, I created a Memorial Day altered book spread using that poem a few years ago.

I found the following on the Army's web site:
World War I, then normally referred to simply as The Great War (no one could imagine any war being greater!), ended with the implementation of an armistice [temporary cessation of hostilities-in this case until the final peace treaty, the infamous Treaty of Versailles, was signed in 1919] between the Allies and Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, 1918.
November 11: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.
On the second anniversary of the armistice, France and the United Kingdom hold ceremonies honoring their unknown dead from the war. In America, at the suggestion of church groups, President Wilson names the Sunday nearest Armistice Day Sunday, on which should be held services in the interest of international peace.
Congress passes legislation approving the establishment of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. November 11 is chosen for the date of the ceremony. According on October 20, Congress declares November 11, 1921 a legal Federal holiday to honor all those who participated in the war. The ceremony was conducted with great success.
Congress adopts a resolution directing the President to issue an annual proclamation calling on the observance of Armistice Day. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, most states establish November 11 as a legal holiday and at the Federal level, an annual proclamation is issued by the President.
Congress passes legislation on May 13 making November 11 a legal Federal holiday, Armistice Day. The United States has no 'actual' national holidays because the states retain the right to designate their own holidays. The Federal government can in fact only designate holidays for Federal employees and for the District of Columbia. But in practice the states almost always follow the Federal lead in designation of holidays.
1941- 1945
1950- 1953
World War II and the Korean War create millions of additional war veterans in addition to those of the First World War already honored by Armistice Day.
On June 1, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day.
Congress passes the Monday Holiday Law which established the fourth Monday in October as the new date for the observance of Veteran's Day. The law is to take effect in 1971.
The Federal observance of Veterans Day is held on the fourth Monday of October. Initially all states follow suit except Mississippi and South Dakota. Other states changed their observances back to November 11 as follows: 1972- Louisiana and Wisconsin; 1974- Kentucky, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, South Carolina, West Virginia; 1975- California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
Legislation passed to return the Federal observance of Veteran's Day to November 11, based on popular support throughout the nation. Since the change to the fourth Monday in October, 46 states had either continued to commemorate November 11 or had reverted back to the original date based on popular sentiment. The law was to take effect in 1978.
Veteran's Day observance reverts to November 11. 
Even the Army web site didn't get the name of Veterans Day correct, as it vacillates between Veteran's and Veterans.  According to VA.gov, the correct spelling is:
Veterans Day. Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an "s" at the end of "veterans" because it is not a day that "belongs" to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.
So, please hug a Vet today, watch a parade, or honor in some way, those who have served or died, both domestically and abroad, for your country.

This is day 12 of AEDM and I am honoring all Vets today by sharing a bit of what I learned about  Veterans Day.  And I am posting at 11:00 am CST, so each of us can take a few moments to observe this US National Holiday.

16 thoughtful remarks:

Annie said...

What a beautiful post Elizabeth.
Annie x

Helen said...

As always you put so much thought into your Veterans Day posts. As you know, I've visited the poppies at the Tower of London several times and as you say, it is a moving and chilling thought as to their significance.

see you there! said...

Very interesting info. I corrected my apostrophe and have given my own person vet lots of hugs :-)


Divers and Sundry said...

It is interesting to see how different countries' observances differ. I do think the poppies for WW1 are striking.

Jo Murray said...

Well researched and written Elizabeth. We should always remember the sacrifices that our armed forces make to keep us safe.

TwinkleToes2day said...

A beautiful, thoughtful and informative post. Thank you for sharing all that information Elizabeth.

Jennifer McLean said...

that was terrific Elizabeth. I have loved seeing the poppies in Britain. The poppies are going to make a huge amount of money there, each poppy is selling for something like $45

froebelsternchen Susi said...

A great tribute to honor them all....
xxx Susi

Maron said...

As the wife of a Veteran, I thought this post was wonderful. Thank you!

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

The poppies scene is breathtaking and heartbreaking. So many lives lost. With the net making the world so interconnected we are adopting and adapting traditions all the time. No harm done in wearing poppies more than once a year.

Anonymous said...

A lovely piece Elizabeth however I would like to correct a couple of things - the ceramic poppies at the Tower in London are there t represent British and Commonwealth who died. This isn't your mistake as I have heard many people in the UK who think it is only British deaths that the poppies were 'planted' but many men of the Commonwealth countries - Australians,New Zealanders, Canadians, Indians, etc who fought with our men and gave their lives.

Second point is that our (UK) Remembrance Day is 11th November when we observe a two minute silence and wear poppies for that date however the Remembrance service and laying of poppy wreaths is done on the Sunday closest to 11th November. There are also available white poppies which many people wear, these are worn to remember the people who died in any conflict since The Great War but also to denote that the wearer believes all wars are unnecessary and should not be fought.
Hope you don't mind me adding to your post in this way?
Lynn xx

Nigel Roberts said...

Thank you.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Ode of Rememberance

voodoo vixen said...

A lovely post for Veterans Day and nice to have it explained what the differences are in various countries. We do Remembrance Day on the 11th November at 11 a.m. and honour the dead with two minutes silence but the services and things happen on the Sunday nearest to it as well. I find it odd that I have had to send Chris poppies to the Netherlands because they don't have them and my Mum took some back with her because they don't do them in France... and yet the poppies actually represent Flanders Fields which is in France!! Weird eh?

Rebeca Trevino said...

what a great post Elizabeth. the poppies are spectacular!

pearshapedcrafting said...

A lovely and interesting post! Chrisx

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth thank you so much for your reply on my blog and please you don't need to apologise. Many journalists on UK radio and television also said, incorrectly, the Moat Poppies were for the remembrance of British service personnel. It annoyed me that British people made this mistake so when you heard a British person repeat this via television why should you think it was wrong? I thought you would like this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2829776/How-poppy-memorial-nearly-never-Artist-installation-called-reinforcements-realising-never-able-produce-flowers-time-Armistice-Day.html
Hugs Lynn xx