What’s the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, via Wiki Commons

On this Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a moment to decipher the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Per the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs:

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.

(Emphasis theirs.)

So, basically, Memorial Day is for honoring servicepeople who died because of battle and Veterans Day is for honoring those lucky military SOBs who are still alive.

Why we need two separate Federal holidays for this, I don’t quite understand but whatever gets me an extra day off from work is good in my book.

Now, let’s take a serious moment and remember the dead. I don’t have any US military people on my side of the family but the Husband has plenty on his.  And I’m sure you know at least one person who is military in some way.

Fallen troops, thank you very much.

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