20+ Differences Between Memorial Day And Veterans Day

The United States of America, like any other land proud of its patriotism, celebrates a number of patriotic days.

This includes Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, Independence Day, etc. Amongst these also come Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

However, although with a stark difference, the two are often confused other and easily misunderstood.

As a proud citizen of the country, however, it is essential to know the difference between the two not just for the purpose of knowledge but also for the actual purpose of celebrating the days in their respective times.

Key Differences Memorial Day And Veterans Day

Comparison between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

ParameterMemorial DayVeterans Day

Date of Celebration

Memorial Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May.

The Veterans Day has always been celebrated on November 11th every year. However, until the year 1975, the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 had shifted it to a fourth Monday in October to allow workers to enjoy a long weekend. This only lasted for a short while.

Purpose of Celebration

It is celebrated in honor of the deceased military members who died while protecting the American land.

It is to honor the heartfelt service of the veterans who are currently or were previously in the US military.

Holiday Declaration

It started as a ‘Decoration Day’ wherein citizens would informally place spring flowers on the graves of the fallen soldiers to pay respects. 

The patriotic holiday was initially recognized as ‘Armistice Day’ on the commencement of the first anniversary of the First World War. However, in 1954, it was renamed as Veterans Day.

Related Laws and Regulations

In honor of ‘Decoration Day,’ the Congress gave effect to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968. It was a three-day holiday by 1971.

However, in order to provide workers a long weekend, the holiday was moved to a less specific fourth Monday in October following the guidance provided by the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968. This only lasted till 1975, when it was changed back by the then president.

History

The celebration of Memorial Day dates to the post-Civil war era, wherein the citizens would place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers to pay respects. It was later declared a three-day holiday for federal employees by the year 1971.

Veterans Day was originally observed on November 11, which happened to be the first anniversary of the conclusion of World War I. Although the date of the holiday was changed for a short period of time, November 11th is still observed as Veterans Day.

major differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

What exactly is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is celebrated in honor of the deceased military members who died while protecting the American land.

It started as a sort of ‘Decoration Day’ wherein citizens mourning the death of the fallen soldiers would informally place spring flowers on their graves to pay respects.

Thus, to honor the celebration of ‘Decoration Day,’ Congress formally gave effect to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968. It was a three-day holiday by 1971.

Purpose Of Celebration

What exactly is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is observed to pay respect in honor to the individuals who have served in the American armed forces. The memory of the first ever Veterans Day dates back to the first anniversary of the commencement of World War I, which took place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, i.e., on November 11, 1918.

Purpose Of Celebration

The contrast between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

Date Of Celebration

  • Memorial Day: The final Monday in May is designated each year as Memorial Day. Moreover, since the year 1971, it has been officially recognized as a three-day holiday for government workers.
  • Veterans Day: Veterans Day is observed on November 11 every year in order to pay respect in honor to the individuals who have served in the American armed forces.

    However, until 1975, the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 had shifted it to a fourth Monday in October to allow workers to enjoy a long weekend. This only lasted for a short while.

Purpose of Celebration

  • Memorial Day: Memorial Day is celebrated every year in honor of the deceased military members who died while protecting the American land.
  • Veterans Day: Veterans Day is observed to pay respect in honor to the individuals who have served in the American armed forces.

Holiday Declaration

  • Memorial Day: Memorial Day gained momentum and was first recognized as a ‘Decoration Day’ wherein citizens would informally place spring flowers on the graves of the fallen soldiers to pay respects.
  • Veterans Day: The patriotic holiday of Veterans Day was initially recognized as ‘Armistice Day’ on the commencement of the first anniversary of the First World War. It was, however, later renamed Veterans Day in the year 1954.

Related Laws And Regulations

  • Memorial Day: In honor of ‘Decoration Day,’ Congress gave effect to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 in view of celebrating Memorial Day. It was then declared a three-day holiday for federal employees by the year 1971.
  • Veterans Day: In order to provide workers a long weekend, the holiday was moved to a less specific fourth Monday in October, following the guidance provided by the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968. However, this only lasted till 1975, when it was changed back by the then President in order to retain the authentic meaning of Veterans Day.

History

  • Memorial Day: The celebration of Memorial Day dates to the post-Civil war era, wherein the citizens would place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers to pay respects. It was later declared a three-day holiday for federal employees by the year 1971.
  • Veterans Day: Veterans Day was originally observed on November 11, 1919, i.e., on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, which happened to be exactly one year after the end of World War One.

Although the date of the holiday was changed for a short period of time, November 11 is still observed as Veterans Day since the year 1975, when President Gerald Ford changed the date back to November 11 in order to preserve the authentic meaning of Veterans Day celebration.

When Is Veterans Day Celebrated

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the main difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

Although having a stark difference between the two, they are often confused with each other and easily misunderstood.

The key difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is that while Memorial Day is celebrated to honor the death of fallen soldiers, Veterans Day has a historical meaning attached to it, i.e., to celebrate the services and sacrifices made by those who are present and were previously in the US military. 

Q2. When is Veterans Day formally celebrated?

Veterans Day has always been observed on November 11 every year in order to honor the patriotic nature of the holiday.

It is imperative to note the historical fact that on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, exactly one year after the First World War, it was first declared ‘Armistice Day’ in remembrance of the first anniversary of the conclusion of the First World War.

Interestingly, it occurred at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, making the day special.

However, in the year 1954, it was renamed Veterans Day by the then President of the United States of America.

Q3. When was Memorial Day formally recognized as a holiday?

In honor of celebrating ‘Decoration Day,’ Congress, i.e., the then government of the United States of America, had given effect to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, which recognized Memorial Day as a patriotic holiday for federal employees.

It is presently recognized as a three-day holiday in honor of remembering and praying for the fallen soldiers who served in the US military and passed away while in service.

Q4. What is the Decoration Day?

Memorial Day was previously celebrated as ‘Decoration Day’ in 1866 when Memorial Day had not been formally recognized.

On this day, citizens used to informally place spring flowers on the graves of the fallen soldiers to pay respects.

Today, the arrival of Memorial Day signifies the purpose of the holiday and the commencement of the Spring season in the United States of America.

Q5. Why is Veterans Day celebrated on November 11 every year?

Since the year 1919, i.e., the year after the first world war had ended, Veterans Day has been observed on the first anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.

This instance occurred at the magical moment of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the month.

It was originally known as Armistice Day, but it was later renamed Veterans Day in the year 1954 by the then President of the United States of America.


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