Memorial Day and Veterans Day are both important holidays that honor those who have served in the United States military. However, one common question “Should I thank a veteran on Memorial Day” is a bit more complex than it seems. It is essential to understand the distinction between these two observances to ensure our gratitude is appropriately directed. It is not customary to say “thank you” to veterans on Memorial Day, but there are meaningful ways to honor the sacrifices made. Let’s look at the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day and how we can best pay tribute to veterans on each.
Memorial Day versus Veterans Day:
Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in military service to their country. Its primary purpose is to honor and commemorate the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, protecting the freedoms we cherish. Memorial Day serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost in defense of our nation.
In contrast, Veterans Day, observed on November 11th, pays tribute to all American veterans, living or deceased, who have served honorably in the armed forces. This day acknowledges and expresses gratitude for the contributions and sacrifices made by veterans during their time in service.
Honoring Veterans on Memorial Day:
Memorial Day primarily focuses on remembering the fallen. Here are some meaningful ways to honor them on this solemn day:
- Attend Memorial Day ceremonies: Participate in local Memorial Day ceremonies, parades, or memorial services. These events often provide opportunities to express gratitude to veterans while respecting the solemnity of the occasion.
- Visit cemeteries and memorials: Pay your respects by visiting military cemeteries, national monuments, or memorials. Consider leaving flowers or flags on the graves of fallen soldiers to honor their memory.
- Volunteer and support veteran organizations: Get involved with organizations that provide support and assistance to veterans and their families. Volunteer your time, donate, or contribute to fundraising efforts that benefit veterans in need.
- Educate yourself and others: Take the time to learn about the history and significance of Memorial Day, as well as the experiences of veterans. Share this knowledge with others to foster understanding and respect for those who have served.
The Purpose of Memorial Day:
Memorial Day serves a critical purpose beyond simply marking the start of the summer season. It is a time for reflection, remembrance, and gratitude. By honoring the fallen, we pay tribute to their selflessness and courage. Memorial Day reminds us of the high cost of freedom and encourages us to cherish and protect the liberties we enjoy.
But seriously, Should I thank a veteran on Memorial Day? While saying “thank you” to veterans on Memorial Day may not be the traditional approach, it is always important to show respect and honor to those who have served. Many veterans commemorate Memorial Day by holding events, like the ones described above. Join them, and stand by their side, to show that you value their sacrifice as they honor their brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. By understanding the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day and engaging in appropriate commemorative activities, we can pay tribute to the fallen and express our gratitude to living veterans. Let us seize this opportunity to remember and honor the sacrifice of those who have given their lives for our country, and to support and uplift the veterans among us.
Most of us know at least one veteran, and many of us have family who gave their lives in service of this Country. Don’t close the grill. The fact that Memorial Day has become synonymous with the beginning of Summer, family gatherings, and simply enjoying the free lives we all have is a testament to the many many veterans who gave their lives to let us enjoy those burgers and brats.
Rich Frankel is the managing partner of Bross & Frankel. He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars. He has focused exclusively on disability and social security benefits since 2005.
Mr. Frankel joined what is now Bross & Frankel after having watched his father struggle with disability, fighting a lengthy illness. Mr. Frankel founded the firm’s veteran’s law practice and substantially grew the social security disability practice, focusing Bross & Frankel’s ability to fight for all of the disability benefits available to his clients.
Mr. Frankel additionally fights for clients in court, obtaining frequent victories in Social Security appeals and against insurance companies in Federal court.