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Six Facts About Veterans Day

Brendan Smialowski/Stringer- Getty Images

On Friday, we observe Veterans Day, an official United States holiday which honors men and women who have served in our armed forces.

A lot of people get Veterans Day and Memorial Day mixed up, so here’s something to help you remember the difference between the two- Memorial Day is for remembering those who died in military service.  Veterans Day is to honor all veterans, both living and deceased whether they served in wartime or in peacetime.

Here are six other interesting things you might not know about Veterans Day.


There Are Over 22 Million War Veterans Living in the U.S.



Don’t take our word- that number comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs who states that the number includes 1.7 million vets from World War Two, 2.2 million from Korea, 7.3 million from Vietnam, 5 million from Afghanistan and Iraq, and 500,000 from the Persian Gulf War.



Veteran’s Day Was Originally Called “Armistice Day”



November 11th, 1919 marked the first anniversary of the end of World War One.  Armistice Day was originally created to honor the veterans of World War One, but as we know, it now honors all veterans from all wars. Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday in 1938, then renamed it Veterans Day in 1954.



“God Bless America” Debuted on the Radio for Veteran’s Day in 1938



Irving Berlin wrote the song “God Bless America” in 1918, but it wouldn’t be for another 20 years before he changed the lyrics and turned it into the version we all know and love.  The song actually debuted as part of an Armistice Day radio special on November 10th, which was the day before Veterans Day.



The Official Symbol of Veterans Day is the Poppy



In 1918, a woman in Georgia named Moina Belle Michael read a John McCrae poem called “In Flanders Fields”, and it inspired her to wear red poppies. Now, Veterans all over the country can be found selling poppies on Veterans Day. The poem Moina read includes the line, “In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses row on row.”



The Motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs Is a Quote from Abraham Lincoln



The motto is, quote, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle.”  That quote is from the final paragraph of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.



71% of Veterans Voted in the 2008 Presidential Election



That figure comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Also, only 63% of non-veterans voted.


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