Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially ended Nov. 11, 1918.
Iowa State will be having multiple events throughout the week to celebrate Veterans Day and honor veterans.
At 3:15 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union will be this year's Gold Star Hall Ceremony. The ceremony is an annual event put on to honor Iowa State students who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for their country.
Three WWII service members and one Vietnam service member will be honored during this year's ceremony: John Fuller, who died in Belgium; Schuyler Wheeler, who died in Germany; Meredith Deroy Winter, who died in Iwo Jima; and Kenneth Tapscott, who died in South Vietnam.
The other event will be a Veterans Appreciation Dinner from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.
This will be the seventh annual community supper, and the event will feature food, music and awards recognizing those who have been instrumental to the success of veteran and military-affiliated students at Iowa State.
These events should not imply the holiday is only for those who served in combat or were killed, though.
“A lot of people think it’s 'Veteran’s Day' or 'Veterans’ Day,' but they’re wrong,” according to the United States Department of Defense website. “The holiday is not a day that 'belongs' to one veteran or multiple veterans, which is what an apostrophe implies. It’s a day for honoring all veterans — so no apostrophe needed.”
In legislation that was passed in 1938, Nov. 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.
In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.
On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law that returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.
“Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served. For one day, we stand united in respect for you, our veterans,” according to Military.com. “We celebrate and honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
Military.com has a list of eight ways for people to show appreciation to members of the military, past and present.
Show up: Attend a Veterans Day event in the area, not just a picnic with friends but a parade or service for veterans.
Donate: There are a plethora of organizations that offer all manner of support, services and appreciation for military service members.
Ask someone about their service: Many people know someone who has served, and Veterans Day is a great time to ask them about their service. Some questions to get started are: What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? What was your favorite moment in all your time in the service? Did anyone else in your family serve? Why did you choose to go into the service branch you did?
Do not ask if they've killed anyone, and should the veteran be a combat vet who is either unwilling to share or plainly states what they went through, be supportive without being intrusive. Sometimes you don't have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.
Write: Another way for people to support veterans is to write a simple postcard or e-card that recognizes them on Veterans Day. If people don't know a veteran, they can look up the closest military installation and send a letter or postcard there. Small acts of recognizing someone's service, even anonymously, can be greatly appreciated.
Don't confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day: Veterans Day is a time to thank those who are serving or have served and are still alive. Memorial Day is to reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country. Confusing the two or combining the two diminishes the importance of both.
Visit a Veteran Affairs (VA) hospital: People can find out what the policies are at their nearest VA hospital for interacting with patients or volunteering, and then spend the day with a veteran. Many VA facilities will have events on Veterans Day or a special lunch people interested can help prepare. Even if people never interact with a veteran, helping at a facility like a VA hospital is a way to give back.
Get outdoors with a veteran: Invite a veteran or a military family to explore a national park, which are admission free for all visitors on Veterans Day. Being outside helps improve physical and mental health, boosts emotional well-being and is a great way to celebrate the day with a veteran.