1. Earlier this week, when asked how ordinary people can participate in Veterans Day, Tammy Duckworth of the Department of Veterans Affairs said “Number one, you can thank a vet for their service.”
  2. Officially, it’s “Veterans Day,” no apostrophe. The government — not retail stores — has the last word in this matter.
  3. Veterans Day was created by Dwight Eisenhower in 1954 due in part to the efforts of Alfred King, a shoe salesman from Emporia, Kansas.
  4. Veterans Day replaced “Armistice Day,” a commemoration proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson in 1919 and made an annual holiday by Calvin Coolidge in 1938.
  5. Armistice Day was “dedicated to the cause of world peace” but was more popularly about commemorating the heroes of World War One.
  6. Veterans Day is November 11 because the armistice between the Allies and Germany took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
  7. The “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” of 1971 moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday of October everywhere but Mississippi and South Dakota.
  8. In response to popular sentiment, Veterans Day was moved back to November 11 in 1978.
  9. Veterans Day honors all who have served in the armed services, living and dead, in wartime and in peace. It’s distinct from Memorial Day which was specifically created to commemorate Americans who have died in military service.
  10. Veterans Day especially shouldn’t be confused with Patriots’ Day (note the apostrophe) as the latter celebrates just those involved with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It’s only recognized in Massachusetts (where it is becoming better know as “Marathon Monday”), Maine (once part of Massachusetts), and, for some reason, Wisconsin.

About The Author

Contributing editor John Stephen Dwyer is in love with his native Boston but has also done work in Amsterdam, London, New York, Paris and other cool cities. In recent months he's photographed notables including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Rosalynn Carter.

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