Memorial Day Vs. Veterans Day: Learn the Meaning of These National Holidays by Rebecca Townsend
Because of my expertise in military mental health, I'm often asked what the meaning of Memorial Day is. In the last 17 years, we have become more conscientious about honoring service members and veterans. Everyone wants to do and say the right thing.
There is often confusion about differences in Memorial Day and Veterans Day. In short, Memorial Day honors those who died in service to our nation. Veterans Day celebrates all those who have or are currently serving in the military. Many people will thank service members and veterans on Memorial Day, misunderstanding it is often a solemn day of remembering those who gave their lives in service.
Memorial Day started during the Civil War era when over 600,000 soldiers lost their lives. A tradition of Memorial Day is to wear a red poppy, which is the result of a WWI poem, "In Flanders Field." Flag custom on Memorial Day is to fly the flag at half-staff until noon and then raise to full height. In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance – at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, we should pause for one minute. Why 3 p.m.? It is when most Americans will be enjoying their freedoms we have in this country because of those who gave their lives.
One minute probably doesn't seem like enough time to honor these heroes and the truth is, it isn't. We will never be able to repay those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.