Veterans Day is observed on November 11th. It does not matter on what day of the week in falls. The date stays the same; the day of the week changes. It was originally known as Armistice Day. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was declared in “the Great War” (WWI). The war officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles signing on June 28, 1919. However, in the public imagination November 11, 1918 marked the end. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 Armistice Day. On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that Armistice Day should be a recurring observance. In 1938, in became a federal holiday (Veterans Day 2022, history.com). “However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to ‘Veterans Day’ in order to account for all veterans in all wars” (Veterans Day 2022, military.com). It should not be confused with Memorial Day, but often is. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. The day of the week stays the same; the date changes. “Memorial Day is a day for remember and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as the results 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… we’ll give the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs the last word: ‘Veterans Day does not include an s’ at the end of veterans, it is not a day that belongs to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans’” (Matthew T. Hall, Many People Confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Don’t., The San Diego Union Tribune, Nov. 10, 2014, sandiegotribune.com).
We should appreciate those who have served (and serve) to keep us free. “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” (Romans 13:7). “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King” (1 Peter 2:17).
However, let us think beyond honoring military service. Let us appreciate, and honor those who serve in all areas of life. Let us appreciate, and honor those who serve in the church. Let us honor the living who serve, and not just eulogize the dead. Jesus taught that true greatness is found in service (Matthew 20:25-28; 23:11-12). Paul instructed, “through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Service, and those who serve, should be highly esteemed (Philippians 2:29-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:17; Romans 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 16:15).