VFW Posts statewide host public commemorations and other events on many patriotic days, honoring America's veterans and rich history. Join us in our efforts by getting involved with an upcoming event with your local Post today!
Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the
contributions of living veterans. Armistice Day officially received its name in
America in 1926 through a congressional resolution. It became a national
holiday 12 years later by similar congressional action.
If World War I had been "the war to end all wars," November
11 might be still called Armistice Day. Realizing that peace was equally
preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the
day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President
Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.
(Historically, the first Veterans Day parade was held in 1953 in Emporia,
A law passed in 1968 changed the national
commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became
apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many
Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its
Pearl Harbor Day
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers staged a surprise
attack on U.S. military and naval forces in Hawaii. In a devastating defeat,
the United States suffered 3,435 casualties and loss of or severe damage to 188
planes, 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, and 4 miscellaneous vessels. Japanese
losses were less than 100 personnel, 29 planes, and 5 midget submarines.
The day after the attack, before a joint session of Congress, President
Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan. President
Roosevelt's message conveyed the national outrage over the Pearl Harbor attack
by pronouncing December 7, 1941 "a date which will live in infamy."
FDR expressed outrage at Japan and confidence in
the "inevitable triumph" of the United States. On December 8, 1941,
the United States declared war against Japan; on December 11 Germany and Italy
declared war against the United States.
Memorial Day, May 30 (traditional), is a sacred day to all war
veterans. America's collective consciousness demands that all citizens be
reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. By honoring
the nation's war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and
sacrifice. All U.S. flags should be displayed at half-staff during the morning
hours. At noon, they should be raised back to full-staff.
The Meaning of Memorial Day
It’s a sacred day to all war veterans: None need to be reminded of the
reason that Memorial Day must be commemorated. But what about the general
public, and more important, future generations? Do most non-veterans really
recognize the importance of the day honoring their fellow Americans killed in war? Judging from what Memorial Day has become — simply another day off from
work — the answer is a resounding no. Perhaps a reminder is due, then. And it
is the duty of each and every veteran to relay the message.
Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. America’s collective
consciousness demands that all citizens recall and be aware of the deaths of
their fellow countrymen during wartime. Far too often, the nation as a whole takes for granted the freedoms all
Americans enjoy. Those freedoms were paid for with the lives of others few of
us actually knew. That’s why they are all collectively remembered on one
This should be regarded as a civic obligation. For this is a national
debt that can only be truly repaid by individual Americans. By honoring the
nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and
sacrifice in the memories of future generations. They came from all walks of life and regions of the country. But they
all had one thing in common — love of and loyalty to country. This bond
cemented ties between them in times of trials, allowing a diverse lot of
Americans to achieve monumental ends.
We remember the loss of loved ones, a sense of loss that takes group
form. In essence, America is commemorating those who made the greatest
sacrifice possible — giving one’s own life on behalf of others. Means of paying tribute vary. Pausing for a few moments of personal
silence is available to everyone.
Attending commemorative ceremonies is the most visible way of
demonstrating remembrance: Placing flags at gravesites, marching in parades,
sponsoring patriotic programs, dedicating memorials and wearing Buddy Poppies
are examples. Whether done individually or collectively, it is the thought that
counts. Personal as well as public acts of remembering are the ideal. Public
displays of patriotism are essential if the notion of remembering war dead is
to be instilled in youth. As America’s older war veterans fast disappear from society’s
landscape, there are fewer and fewer standard-bearers left to carry the torch
of remembrance. Such traditions will live on only if there is a vibrant
movement to which that torch can be passed.
July 4, 1776, the signers of the Declaration of Independence boldly asserted
that all are "created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness." With these words, our forefathers formed a new nation and
put forth a vision of liberty and democracy that would forever alter history.
Every Fourth of July, Americans celebrate this pivotal moment in our history,
which set into motion the development of a land of freedom and opportunity unequaled in the world.
whom we lost September 11, 2001, will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts
and in the history of our nation. By a joint resolution approved December 18,
2001, (Public Law 107-89), Congress authorized the president to designate
September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day" to perpetuate the memory
of those who perished in the attack on America and to pursue peace and justice
in the world and security at home. Appropriate ceremonies and activities
include a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. EDT, remembrance services
and candlelight vigils. Flags should be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day.
Day originally began as "Americanization Day" in 1921 as a counter to
the Communists' May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. On May 1, 1930,
10,000 VFW members staged a rally at New York's Union Square to promote
patriotism. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1 evolved into Loyalty
Day. Observances began in 1950 on April 28 and climaxed May 1 when more than
five million people across the nation held rallies. In New York City, more than
100,000 people rallied for America. In 1958 Congress enacted Public Law 529
proclaiming Loyalty Day a permanent fixture on the nation's calendar.
POW/MIA Recognition Day
POW/MIA Recognition Day honors the commitments and the sacrifices made
by our nation's prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. By custom, it is on the third Friday in September.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of the six days specified by
law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and
cemeteries, post offices and military installations.
To learn more about this solemn day, take a look at this document highlighting federal law, the identification process (when remains are found), and script of the Missing Man Table of Honor Ceremony.
Flag Day is June 14 and celebrates the official symbol for the United
States: our Stars and Stripes. Flag Day was first recognized by Congress on
June 14, 1777, which became know as Flag Day. Not only is the U.S. flag older than the Union Jack of Great Britain
and the tri-color flag of France, but also is the only flag to have been flown
on the moon.
Congress first stated that there should be a star and stripe for every
state. Our first flag had 13 stars and 7 red and 6 white stripes. In 1794, two
new states were added and we had a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. By 1818
there were 20 states, but our county was still using the flag with 15 stars and
15 stripes. Congress thought about having 20 stripes and agreed that it might
become a problem because of its size so they passed a law that said there would
be 13 stripes for the original 13 states, and they would add a star for each
new state that joined the union.
The U.S. flag is 13 stripes: seven red and six white. A blue field with
50 stars is located next to the staff in the upper left corner of the flag. It
extends from the top to the lower edge of the fourth red stripe. The stars are
arranged in alternating rows of six and five representing the 50 states of the
United States. The stars do not represent any given state.
The colors used in the flag give special meaning
to the flag: Red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life;
and blue — the color of heaven — for reverence and loyalty.