Honoring those who served on Veterans Day
BRIDGEWATER | EAST BRIDGEWATER | WEST BRIDGEWATER
Parade and ceremony: The Tri-Town Parade steps off at 10 a.m. Tuesday from Spring Hill Avenue and travels on Summer Street, Route 104 and Route 28 to Legion Field. There will be a ceremony at Legion Field gazebo. Collation for parade participants will be at the Veterans Club on Cottage Street.
Parade and ceremony: Parade starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Town Hall. A ceremony will take place at the Middleboro Veterans Memorial Park on the Town Hall lawn after the parade. The parade will be cancelled if it rains, but a ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the ballroom at the Town Hall.
Parade and ceremony: Parade steps off at 10 a.m. Tuesday from the War Memorial Building, 156 West Elm St., and concludes with a ceremony at the Veterans of All Wars Monument on Legion Parkway.
School program: The 12th annual Veterans Day program is set for 9 a.m. Monday in the gymnasium at Raynham Middle School and includes guest speakers and entertainment by the school students. All residents who have served in the military, including the Reserves, are invited to attend and receive a show of support from the community.
Breakfast: A pancake breakfast will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at Coyle Cassidy High School, 2 Hamilton St. Cost is $5 is those age 12 and older, $3 for ages 3-11. Proceeds will assist in purchasing and placing memorial markers at veterans’ gravesites in Taunton.
Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at United Parish of Carver, 115 Main St. All Carver veterans will be served at no charge.
ABINGTON | ROCKLAND | WHITMAN
Parade: The annual Tri-Town Parade steps off at 9 a.m. Tuesday from Summit and Union streets in Rockland. The parade is hosted on an alternating basis by Abington, Whitman and Rockland.
Parade and ceremony: Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Washington Plaza and proceeds up Main Street to the World War I Memorial for a ceremony, continues to Veterans Memorial Park and the World War II, Korean and Vietnam Memorial for a ceremony.
Ceremony: A brief ceremony at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 499 Plymouth St., includes the laying of wreaths at the various monuments near the Town Hall and a few words from attendees.
Ceremony: A ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Pembroke Middle School, 559 School St., will include guest speakers and a performance by the Pembroke High School Chorus.
Breakfast and march: Breakfast starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the VFW hall, 10 Highland Ave. At 10:30 a.m., a group will march from the VFW to the war memorial outside the Turner Free Library in Crawford Square.
Flags for gravesites: Flags will be placed at veterans’ graves on Saturday at the Holy Sepulcher and Evergreen cemeteries. Refreshments will be served at the VFW afterward.
Parade and ceremony: The parade starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday at VFW Post 1645, Washington Street; stops at Town Hall for a ceremony and wreath-laying at the Memorial Bell; forms again on Pearl Street and travels to Faxon Veterans Memorial Park for a ceremony; and proceeds on Walnut Street and Washington Street back to the VFW. Collation is at noon at VFW, 837 Washington St.
How much do you really know about this national holiday honoring those who have served our country?
Here are 11 Veterans Day facts in honor of the holiday celebrated in the United States on November 11th. Thank you to all those who have served!
When was Veterans Day first celebrated?
Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day was celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919, which was the first anniversary of the end of the fighting of World War I. The Allies and Germany agree to an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities,on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. (Technically WWI did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.)
Why do we celebrate Veterans Day?
President Woodrow Wilson said of that first observance in 1919, “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.” That purpose has not changed as today the purpose is still to honor those who have served our nation.
When did Veterans Day become a national holiday?
Although first observed in 1919, Congress did not make it official until 1938. IN 1954, the name changed to Veterans Day. In the 1970s the date moved around in November, causing confusion, and President Gerald Ford in 1975 signed a law placing the observance on Nov. 11 and there it has remained. For more details, please see the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs History of Veterans Day and the U.S. Army’s Center for Miliary History page on History of Veterans Day.
What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?
These two holidays are frequently confused but they are not the same. Memorial Day, celebrated in May, honors those who lost their lives in service to our country, and Veterans Day, celebrated in November, honors all who have served and focusing on thanking living service members, past and present. For the official answer, the Office of of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs explains, “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.”
In what war did the largest number of Americans serve in the Armed Forces?
World War II saw more than 16 million Americans become service members, according to the 2009 Veterans Day Teacher Resource Guide. As of June 2013, CNN reported that 1.7 million WII vets were still alive.
Why do we spell it Veterans Day? Shouldn’t there be an apostrophe?
“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,” explains the Office of of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Is there a national ceremony?
In keeping with the honoring of the timing of the armistice ending the carnage of WWI, a Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The VA website says that ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Which state is home to the largest number of veterans?
California has the most, with 2 million veterans calling the Golden State home. Texas and Florida are next, with 1.6 million vets in each state, reports the Census Bureau.
How many of U.S. vets are female?
There are 1.6 million female veterans, as of 2011, according to the Census Bureau.
How many veterans are there living in the United States?
The U.S. has 21.8 million veterans, according the the Census Bureau’s Snapshot of Our Nation’s Veterans.
Do veterans ever serve in more than one war?
Yes. More than 1.3 million of America’s living veterans have served in more than one conflict, and 54,000 have served in 3 wars – WWI, Korea and Vietnam – according to the Census Bureau’s Snapshot of Our Nation’s Veterans.
Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. That’s not quite true. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America’s war dead.
Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors ALL American veterans, both living and dead. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in the lives to keep our country free.
To commemorate the ending of the “Great War” (World War I), an “unknown soldier” was buried in highest place of honor in both England and France ( (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe). These ceremonies took place on November 11th, celebrating the ending of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). This day became known internationally as “Armistice Day”.
In 1921, the United States of America followed France and England by laying to rest the remains of a World War I American soldier — his name “known but to God” — on a Virginia hillside overlooking the city of Washington DC and the Potomac River. This site became known as the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” and today is called the “Tomb of the Unknowns.” Located in Arlington National Cemetery, the tomb symbolizes dignity and reverence for the American veteran.
In America, November 11th officially became known as Armistice Day through an act of Congress in 1926. It wasn’t until 12 years later, through a similar act that Armistice Day became a national holiday.
The entire World thought that World War I was the “War to end all wars.” Had this been true, the holiday might still be called Armistice Day today. That dream was shattered in 1939 when World War II broke out in Europe. More than 400,000 American service members died during that horrific war.
In 1947, Raymond Weeks, of Birmingham Ala., organized a “Veterans Day” parade on November 11th to honor all of America’s veterans for their loyal and dedicated service. Shortly thereafter, Congressman Edward H. Rees (Kansas) introduced legislation to change the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to honor all veterans who have served the United States in all wars.
In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day, and called upon Americans everywhere to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace. He issued a Presidential Order directing the head of the Veterans Administration (now called the Department of Veterans Affairs), to form a Veterans Day National Committee to organize and oversee the national observance of Veterans Day.
Congress passed legislation in 1968 to move Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. However as it became apparent that November 11th was historically significant to many Americans, in 1978, Congress reversed itself and returned the holiday to its traditional date.
Veterans Day National Ceremony
At exactly 11 a.m., each November 11th, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military branches, renders honors to America’s war dead during a heart-moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
The President or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler sounds Taps. The balance of the ceremony, including a “Parade of Flags” by numerous veterans service organizations, takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb.
In addition to planning and coordinating the National Veterans Day Ceremony, the Veterans Day National Committee supports a number of Veterans Day Regional Sites. These sites conduct Veterans Day celebrations that provide excellent examples for other communities to follow.
Veterans Day Observance
Veterans Day is always observed on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls. The Veterans Day National Ceremony is always held on Veterans Day itself, even if the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday. However, like all other federal holidays, when it falls on a non-workday — Saturday or Sunday — the federal government employees take the day off on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday).
Federal government holiday observance (for federal employees, including military) is established by federal law. 5 U.S.C. 6103 establishes the following public holidays for Federal employees: New Year’s Day, Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
This federal law does not apply to state and local governments. They are free to determine local government closings (including school closings) locally. As such, there is no legal requirement that schools close of Veterans Day, and many do not. However, most schools hold Veterans Day activities on Veterans Day and throughout the week of the holiday to honor American veterans.
Veterans Day Around the World
Many other countries honor their veterans on November 11th of each year. However, the name of the holiday and the types of ceremonies differ from the Veterans Day activities in the United States.
Canada, Australia, and Great Britain refer to their holidays as “Remembrance Day.” Canada and Australia observe the day on November 11, and Great Britain conducts their ceremonies on the Sunday nearest to November 11th.
In Canada, the observance of “Remembrance Day” is actually quite similar to the United States, in that the day is set aside to honor all of Canada’s veterans, both living and dead. One notable difference is that many Canadians wear a red poppy flower on November 11 to honor their war dead, while the “red poppy” tradition is observed in the United States on Memorial Day.
In Australia, “Remembrance Day” is very much like America’s Memorial Day, in that its considered a day to honor Australian veterans who died in war.
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.
Have You Hugged Your Veteran Today?
One of the most personal and meaningful Veterans Day activities for people is to send notes or cards to hospitalized veterans or those living in veterans homes. Or, better yet, visit a veteran in a local veterans hospital or veterans home. The best way to have a “happy Veterans Day” is to do something special to make a veteran happy.