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Honoring Veterans Around the World
By AlphaNews
11/11/2016 7:32:00 AM
Veterans Day

Each year on November 11, the U.S. observes Veterans Day. The federal and state holiday is a day to honor all who have served in the armed forces. The government, and many businesses and schools, close so that the holiday can be recognized with memorial ceremonies, salutes at military cemeteries, and parades. But did you know that Veterans Day used to be Armistice Day? President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day in the U.S. It wasn’t until June 1, 1954 that the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.

Around the world many countries still recognize November 11 as Armistice Day, to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. In many countries it is also known as Remembrance Day since it is a day to reflect on those who died in the line of duty, much like Memorial Day in the U.S.

Countries in the Commonwealth of Nations such as the UK, Canada, Australia, India and Barbados recognize Armistice/Remembrance Day. It is often observed with the playing “Last Post” followed by two minutes of silence at 11am on November 11. "Last Post" is a British and other armies bugle call that signals the end of the day and is now used to remember fallen soldiers. Many also hold special ceremonies the Sunday prior to November 11 which has become Remembrance Sunday. In these countries the red poppy has become the symbol of the day due to the war poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae who described the flowers growing on the graves of fallen soldiers in WWI. Today these flowers are made into wreaths to be laid at gravestones or paired with notes to create a Field of Remembrance.

In France, Armistice or Remembrance Day is a national holiday. It is recognized with the blue corn flower. Last year on November 11, the French president took the day to inaugurate the Remembrance Ring by the entrance to the French military cemetery of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. Much like the U.S. Vietnam Wall, the ring includes the names of 579,606 of all nationalities that lost their lives on the battlefields of Pas-de-Calais during WWI.

Other countries observe a Veterans or Remembrance Day, just not in November. For example, in Norway their holiday is held on May 8th, the same day as Victory in Europe Day. In Denmark Veterans Day is recognized on September 5, while in the Netherlands it is held on May 4. New Zealand's national day of remembrance is Anzac Day on April 25th with Poppy Day occurring on the Friday prior.

Whether you recognize today as Veterans Day or Remembrance Day, the aim is the same... to thank those who have served their country and sacrificed to keep the rest of us safe.

Tags: Veteran's Day, US, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Remembrance Sun
Categories: Events, Military History, Holidays
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