Do You Know the History of Veterans Day?
Hyundai Air and Sea Show Executive Producer Mickey Markoff shares the importance of honoring our nation’s heroes every day.
“Veterans Day” is a date which has held significance in United States history for decades. Although it has only been formally acknowledged since 1954, it is a date which holds reverence for something which Americans have held dear for millennia: the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans Day, considered a national holiday in the United States of America, is a day which is set aside to remember and honor those who have sacrificed their freedom in pursuit of our nation. This is something which all Americans should seek to do each day, as our freedom is something we are able to appreciate on a daily basis. However, having a date to honor the significance of the many sacrifices made by our brave men and women in arms is important.
What is the history of Veterans Day?
The history of Veterans Day can be a confusing one for many, Americans included. There are several countries around the world which celebrate those who have served their respective nations, and the United States is no exception. While the remembrance is in many cases universal, the name given to the date often varies, including in the United States. In the USA, although the date has been set at November 11th for several years, the name has changed. What is now known as ‘Veterans Day’ was once known as ‘Armistice Day’ meant to pay homage toall veterans, both alive and those whose spirit live on in our hearts. This date coincides with other holidays of national significance in other countries, including ‘Remembrance Day’ in France, Belgium, Australia, and others, and Armistice Day, which is also held in multiple nations. What each of these have in common is each nation’s honoring of their countrymen’s sacrifice in pursuit of their nation’s freedom.
The story behind the naming of Veterans Day, some say is shrouded in mystery. Legends suggest that there are traces to be found in the events during World War I. Hostilities were allegedly ended at the 11th hour of the 11th month, November 11th 1918, the date when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.
The Armistice of November 11, 1918 ended fighting on land, sea, and air during World War I. The signature was enforced starting at 11 AM on November 11th. This meant the cessation of a number of major hostilities, including the withdrawal of German forces, preservation of various forms of aircraft, and the release of prisoners of war (POWs) and civilians which had been interned.
Why is Veterans Day Distinct From Memorial Day?
Veterans Day holds important significance in United States history, but is often confused with another Federal holiday, Memorial Day. Today, both dates are often better known by many for their associations with different blowout sales and deals on discount mattresses. However, the true meaning of both dates could not be further than commercialism. The sacrifice which many Americans have made throughout our nation’s history are, almost all would likely argue, free from incentive for financial gain. One does not become a public servant in expectation of compensation. One provides a service in the interest of the greater good. In this case, our nation’s freedom.
“There is no better time than Memorial Day weekend to pay tribute to our Military, First Responders, and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our freedom” — Mickey Markoff, Hyundai Air and Sea Show Executive Producer
With this said, many still may confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day, and vice versa. The confusion is easily understood. Both days remember and honor the sacrifices that our brave service members have made for our great nation. However, the distinction lies in the remembrance of the living and the dead. Memorial Day is a date which pays homage to those who have perished in the pursuit of their nation’s freedom, while Veterans Day honors both the living and the dead who have served in the multiple branches of the armed forces of the United States of America.
Regardless of the date and the semantics involved, both Memorial Day and Veterans Day are essential to our country’s history, and more importantly, to our freedom. Both honor sacrifices which should never be taken for granted.
Mickey Markoff has sought to do just this with his multiple ventures which pay homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of our nation’s freedom. As Executive Producer of the Hyundai Air and Sea Show, ‘A National Salute to America’s Heroes’ NSTAH), Markoff has made it the shows mission to honor the true spirit of memorial day. His work with “Folds of Honor” is also aligned with this mission, as he has helped to coordinate multiple scholarships to families of the fallen with the aid of his team who are equally passionate about the organization’s vision. NSTAH has also helped to raise awareness of our local heroes with the help of Hyundai, awarding cars to frontline workers and other heroes in our community. The organization has also produced a television show to honor the fallen and their families with “Gold Star Tribute: A National Salute to America’s Heroes”, produced and narrated by Peter Berg.
Women Veterans Day
While the history and naming of Veterans Day can be easily conflated with others, there are still other details which honor other aspects of our service members’ sacrifice. Women Veterans Day is one such date which, although not celebrated on November 11th, honors the same sacrifice, but specifically for those women who have sacrificed their freedoms. The date is observed on June 12th, coinciding with the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.
This was enacted on June 12th, 1948, enabling women to become permanent members of the armed forces across all branches of service in the United States, the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and also the Coast Guard. Before this act was enforced, women did not serve in the military with the exception of during wartime. Women were also accepted to be nurses in the armed forces, but this did not come with the same recognition. While some women served before this time, it was not mandated until 1948.
Loretta Walsh was the first woman to enlist in the US Navy, and the first woman allowed to serve in any branch of the US armed forces as an active-duty member. She was sworn in on March 21, 1917. Prior to 1917, women had served in the military as nurses, but were not considered for active duty. This meant fewer benefits, including pension and rank. Following Walsh’s historic enlistment, the future of women in the armed forces was forever changed.
This set the pace for women’s representation across the multiple branches of the armed forces in the United States. Since then, countless women have followed in the historic footsteps of Loretta Walsh, further setting the standards for persons choosing to pursue the path of patriotism.
But there were still others before her, including Cathay Williams, who did not wait until history allowed her acceptance. A historical trailblazer, Williams was the first black woman to enlist in the US Army, posing as a man under the pseudonym ‘William Cathay’. Although she enlisted un 1866, during the prohibition against women serving in the military, she persisted in her pursuit to serve her country. Years later, we are still grateful for her service.
Why Veterans Day Is More Than A Day Off Work
In the United States, many have become accustomed to associating Federal holidays with either discounts in big box stores or days off of work. While one or both may be true for many, the importance of them both pales in comparison to the importance of the day. The true meaning of Veterans Day is to remember and honor those brave service members who have sacrificed their freedom in pursuit of our nation’s freedom. We owe a debt of gratitude to the countless individuals who have devoted their lives to preserving our liberties. It is because of the sacrifice of many throughout across that each person can enjoy the freedoms of today. This is something which all Americans should seek to remember each and every day, not just on the holiday.
To honor the day, check out a few of Mickey Markoff’s speaking engagements where he talks about the importance of honoring our nation’s heroes with each day:
Mickey Markoff is best-known as an executive producer of the Hyundai Air and Sea Show. Markoff is also President of MDM Group, an innovative South Florida firm that develops effective multidimensional marketing campaigns. Learn more about Mickey Markoff , and the history of the air and sea show here.
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