Veterans Day is the memorial for honoring American soldiers who served and sacrificed their lives in all the warfare from World War I (WWI). The original name was Armistice Day which marked the end WWI on the 11th hour, 11th day and 11th month of 1918. An anonymous US soldier was laid to rest at the national cemetery at Arlington. Similar events took place in Arc de Triomphe, France and Westminster Abbey in England on the same day. Since 1954 it was renamed as Veterans Day in The US, declaring it as a formal holiday.
World War I started on 28th of July in 1914 between the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Ottoman Empire) and the Allied Forces (Empire of Britain, Russia, France, USA, Japan, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Belgium, Portugal, Romania, Greece, Hejaz and Siam). This war took toll of 9 million military personnel and 7 million civilian lives.
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The Austrian Arch duke Franz Ferdnand was assassinated on 28th June 1914 at Sarajevo which led to diplomatic conflict between the Austro Hungarian kingdom (1867-1918) and Serbia. Known as the July-Crisis, it soon escalated into full scale conflict involving the allies of both the countries. Since no diplomatic breakthrough was possible, it turned into military conflict with 6 major battle grounds in Western Front, Eastern Front, Italian Front, Palestinian Front, Gallipoli Front and Mesopotamian Front. Apart from these fronts, the war spread to Africa, far-east and the high seas.
A series of war engagements started with Battle of Liege on 5th August 1914, when German 2nd-army forces entered Belgium (which so far remained neutral) on way to attack France. Their aim was to capture Liege city in Belgium, which was initially thwarted by the Belgian armed forces. However, they were soon defeated when the German first-army and third-army joined the second army. This resulted in fall of Brussels on August 20 1914.
The battle series continued till 1918 until the Sharqat battle in Mesopotamia, in which the British-Indian forces defeated Turkish military. This was soon followed Armistice Day within a few weeks.
Role of American Forces
The United States entered the WWI on 6th of April 1917 under the leadership of General John J Pershing. It was after President W. Wilson’s attempts to keep the USA away from war failed to succeed. The sinking of British civilian ship RMS Lusitania by Germans in 1915 led to negative sentiments against Germany in the US and UK. The Germans started all out submarine attacks on all ships moving towards United Kingdom. It was on 6th of April 1917 that President Wilson officially declared war on Germany after 5 of the American commercial sea liners were drowned by German attacks in March. The Armistice Day was celebrated in US from 1918 until 1945.
History of Veterans Day
It was in 1945 that Raymond Weeks, a veteran from Second World War approached General Eisenhower to rename Armistice Day as Veterans Day, with the purpose of honoring all the armed force personnel who participated in all the other wars also in which US took part. His efforts resulted in the renaming on 11th November 1947 when the name “Veterans Day” was officially used for celebrations at Birmingham in Alabama.
Edward Rees the American representative proposed the first official bill for renaming the day in the senate in 1947. It took seven years for the bill to be passed in 1954 during President Eisenhower’s term. November 11 was officially declared as Veterans Day. A dead solder from Korean War and another from World War II were laid to rest in Arlington after bringing their corpses from out of the country. The 83rd American Congress replaced the word Armistice with the word Veterans. The proclamation 3071 by the president clearly stated the renaming.
The Veterans Day national committee was formed in the same year with Harvey Higley as the first Chairman. Coordination was established with other organizations like Marine Corps league, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and so on. Representatives were invited from American National Red Cross, Veterans Committee, and Coast Guard League etc.
Uniform-Holiday-Bill was introduced in 1968 June 28th. It ensured 3 days weekend and Monday holiday by clubbing Columbus-Day, Birthday of George Washington, Memorial Day and Veterans-Day. This was called the American-Presidency project whose proposals were implemented from 1st of January 1971. This was during the time of President L.B Johnson. This law ensured that Veterans Day always fell on a Monday.
The law was again changed in 1975 Congress Act with approval from US senate and US House of Representatives. The Veterans Day holiday was moved back from Monday to its original data of November 11th. This became effective from 1978.
Veterans Day across USA
Various legislations have been passed in the US to mark the celebration of Veterans Day related to many US fought wars all over the world. Some of the major ones are from Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Persian Gulf, Panama, Gulf, Somali, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, North-West Pakistan, Libya and war on Islamic State.
Vietnam Veterans Day (VVD)
First ever Vietnam Veterans Day was in the year 1974, selected by the then President Nixon. Since then many resolutions have been passed in the United States to allocate a specific day for this purpose. 42 states have passed legislations in this regard, starting from Alabama to Wisconsin.
- Massachusetts was the first state to enact the Mass Acts of Chapter 244 in 1979. March 29th was declared as VVD (Vietnam Veterans Day). This was the first time that war veterans were honored officially by the state government. The war of Vietnam was marked by many controversies regarding American intervention. Pre war protests from a handful of community leaders soon led to massive scale of rallies all over the US as the war progressed. Casualties in the US military camps in Vietnam are said to be very high. Finally US troops were pulled out from the Asian conflict region. Young soldiers who laid down their lives were given their rightful honor in this act.
- Other states to enact similar acts were Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico, followed by others. Legislations regarding military pension, Childrens’ education and employment, financial and loan services, employment for the injured and disabled veterans, health services, and immigration and settlement issues have been revised periodically and implemented.
Lebanon Veterans Day
Operation Blue bat in the year 1958 saw the intervention of US military forces in Lebanon’s internal conflicts. Beirut’s sea port and airports were taken under control by the US forces and operation was successfully carried out to defeat the militants. The operation lasted for about three months in which hundreds of military personnel were injured, maimed or got killed.
Lebanon VA-Medical-Center is one of the front runners to provide complete medical and surgical assistance to all the veterans who suffered from physical and psychological trauma during this war. Emergency helpline can be reached at 717-272-6621-Ext-4195.
- Rehabilitation and job programs are being run by state governments for the veterans and their family members.
- Veteran Association runs many financial assistance programs for education, home purchase, business establishment and other purposes.
Grenada Veterans Day
Operation Urgent-Fury was launched by the US military forces in the year 1983 to quell the crisis in the Caribbean Sea island Grenada. Marxist leader Maurice Bishop took over the government after overthrowing the Prime Minister Eric Gairy. The country’s relations with Cuba and the erstwhile USSR grew strongly, threatening the US economic interests in the region. The influence of Marxist forces started spreading until Central America when the other Caribbean islands including Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Montserrat, Barbados and several others joined together to form Organization of Eastern-Caribbean-States. President Reagan promised to provide complete cooperation to this group diplomatically and militarily.
It was in 1983 that the bishop was thrown out of power and executed by the Grenadian military under Hudson Austin. Many other ministers were also put to death by the military regime. This resulted in large scale civilian unrest within the country. Austin brought in military rule to crush the unrest in which thousands of civilians were mercilessly executed.
US marine forces came under direct attack near Beirut airport in Lebanon in October 1983. This led to urgent-fury whose aim was to rescue American citizens, shut out Cuban entry into Grenada and restore democracy. The operation started on 25th October 1983 and lasted till all the evacuation and restoration were completed. The combat ended on 2nd November 1983 with victorious American troops returning home. The role of army, air force and navy was appreciated and veterans were honored all over USA.
- Veteran’s welfare committee established after the war started listing out eligible veterans to get financial, social, medical and cultural rehabilitation benefits.
- The committee listed out several valid beneficiaries by conducting regular interviews of veterans all over the US. Listed veterans’ personal, family and health details were recorded in a centralized database and relief measures were started. The Department of veteran Affairs is still working with the veterans and their family members to oversee the proper implementation of the program at regular intervals.
- If you or your family member happens to be veteran from this war, you can reach out to social media websites like Facebook to join the forum on operation urgent fury veterans. Besides you could also visit the department of veteran affairs website and search for this war veteran benefits.
Operation desert storm Veterans Day
This war which ended officially ended on 15th of December 2011 lasted for more than 8 years, starting from 19th March 2003. Overthrowing and execution of Saddam Husain led to complete military unrest which was further complicated by the spilt in the forces. US forces were joined by the government troops to Iyad Allawi after the regime fell. Rebellion forces that broke away from the mainstream started attacking the coalition forces since 2004. The Americans’ desire to end the war was crushed in these conflicts and they were forced to remain there until 2011.
Nearly 5000 US military personnel got killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014. Apart from this thousands of troopers have been wounded or maimed critically in the war and the post war operations. The Iraq-War-Veterans organization (IWVO) was formed in the year 2003 under the leadership of Terry and Hutchison, who served in Vietnam War. The main goals of the organization were
- Social rehabilitation of war veterans and their families.
- Conduct studies and evaluate the condition of disabled Iraq war veterans all over USA and facilitate treatment, medication and surgical services as required.
- Ensure medical insurance, educational and job benefits to veterans and family members.
- Provide entertainment and recreational facilities for US veterans undergoing treatment in various hospitals all over USA.
- Provide financial, technical and social assistance to the veterans in settling down with their family members and lead a decent life.
It is possible for you the join IWVO as a member and you can participate in its activities. Various events have been launched by the organization since 2004. Apart from these events, the department of veteran affairs and other private agencies also run many events.
The gulf war resources center set up by the US federal government announced many beneficial schemes for the veterans. Many educational and health related fairs are being conducted every year. A visit to the site will be able to give you complete details about the various benefits you can receive as a gulf war veteran.
- Medical facilities are being provided to veterans, who have suffered physical disability, hearing loss and other issues. Participating veterans are given gift cards whose value varies from $25 to $100.
- Gulf-War-Syndrome is the name given to the impact of war on the veterans who have gone into war and returned since 1991. It has been estimated that more than 700,000 veterans are listed out as sufferers even today.
- Brain affected veterans are being given rehabilitation facilities by the department of veteran affairs. The department is regularly conducting contact programs on TV and radio channels.
Panama Veteran Day
Operation Just-cause started in 1989 and lasted till the dictator Manuel Noriega was ousted and democracy was restored in the nation. Close to 1000 US armed forces personnel died in the combat and hundreds more were wounded or maimed during the war.
- The office of personnel management issues application forms to war widows and widowers to stake claims for death benefits.
- It is possible for the surviving children to get educational and rehabilitation facilities under the various schemes launched for Panama Veterans Day celebrations.
- Office of Workers-Compensation-Program addresses all the issues faced by veterans who have been working in private firms as well as self employment schemes.
- US Veterans health department takes care of medical supplies to the veterans at highly subsidized prices. The veterans will be able to obtain the benefits by contacting department of veterans association. If you happen to be a veteran living in panama, you can visit the link to get a complete listing of the benefits.
Veterans Day parade in the year 2015 November 11 was the venue for launching many additional social, medical and financial benefit programs for the Panama veterans.
Somali Veterans Day
The war in Somalia (Mogadishu) started in 1991 when the Mohammad Siad Barre was ousted from power by the rebels. This resulted in a bloody civilian war started by militia clans. Thousands of civilians got killed or fled the country. It was in 1993 that the UN passed a resolution to provide humanitarian help to the Somalia people.
American soldiers started attacking the rebel forces since July 1993. The militia retaliated by launching bomb attacks on the US armed forces. The first US jet fighter black-hawk was shot down in the month of September 1993. Three air force personnel were killed in the attack. This resulted in full scale war which combined American and UN forces. More than 700 coalition forces were killed in the war and hundreds wounded or maimed.
Department of veterans affairs has been conducting many health, rehabilitation and financial assistance services through . Any veteran from Somalia will be able to register himself in this site and claim for benefits after submitting valid original documents online.
- Unmarried spouses of war veterans are eligible for death-pensions. Children who are under the age of 18 are also eligible for getting settlement and educational benefits, provided they have no other known sources of income.
- Homeless-veterans are given assistance from .
- Payments for disability and retirement, survivor benefits and other schemes will be evaluated by the federal government periodically.
- The results of these evaluations will be used by the federal agencies for distributing funds and services to the affected veterans and their family members.
- Medical benefits include disability, trauma, brain damages, psychological illnesses, medication and surgical expenses etc. Veterans who suffer from terminal diseases like cancer and tumors are also given complete medical insurance facilities.
- Global-War-On-Terror veterans are being listed out all over USA now. Military personnel who are in active service or retired since 2001 are considered eligible for the beneficial schemes. is one of the sites which give detailed information about the procedures involved in obtaining the benefits.
Bosnia Veterans Day
The Bosnian war lasted for three years from 1992 till 1995. Yugoslavia was split into Slovenia, Croatia, Herzegovina, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Kosovo and Vojvodina were declared independent provinces under Serbia. This resulted in intense war between the breakaway republics. Serbia laid the foundation for the war by committing large scale atrocities in the twin provinces. Large scale ethnic conflicts broke out in 1991. Serbia and Bosnian government requested for the intervention of UN and US forces to get a solution to the problems posed by Serbia. NATO nations decided to intervene and put an end to the crisis. For four long years US had remained neutral in the Bosnian war until Clinton administration decided to join hands with NATO forces. Casualties in the US military forces along with NATO were estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000. The war ended in December 1995. But the final evacuation of American troops in this region happened only in 2004. The operation was headed by TASK-FORCE-EAGLE from 1995 to 2004. It was more of peacekeeping mission for the American forces, but nonetheless military personnel did suffer casualties, injuries and disabilities during this period also.
- Several health-care-benefits have been extended to the veterans by the federal government. It includes all those army, naval and air force personnel who served for 24 months continuously without a break. Veterans who were discharged from duty on account of disability will be given exemptions to this rule. It consists of 8 groups including disabled, POWs, pensioners, non-service personnel, service-connected and other miscellaneous groups. Integrated benefits are provided to them for medication, surgery, trauma care and long term treatments.
- Job recruitment benefits are extended to service connected veterans who have had a decent record during their tenure in Bosnia and Kosovo regions. Successive federal governments have marked federal jobs for the veterans having good health condition. Loans are being distributed to disabled veterans for earning livelihood through self employment and business establishment options.
- Recovery from injuries and return to normal civilian life is said to be one of the most challenging tasks for the ex servicemen. Many of them suffer from long term post war trauma and hallucinations due to substance use, alcoholism and other critical illnesses. Giving them a decent civilian life may not be an easy task, given their existing physical and mental conditions. Department of medical and trauma care at the Veterans affairs have been handling these complications quite successfully.
- Educational facility to veterans’ family members and children is another priority given to Bosnia-Kosovo veterans. This process started in the year 1995 and continued through 2004 and beyond. Any veterans who have not received the benefits so far can also start applying and receiving them from the department of veteran affairs.
Afghanistan Veterans Day
The Afghan war started in the year 2001 after the 11th September attacks in the US. It lasted till 2014 when the US troops stared withdrawing from the war torn nation. The initiation of the war was made when the American president George W Bush demanded handing over of Osama-Bin-Laden who allegedly masterminded the attacks on twin towers. NATO forces joined the US military in the year 2003 and the long drawn battle continued. The alliance included US, UK, Australia, Canada and Germany. The opponent coalition was made of Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic Emirate. More than 3000 coalition soldiers laid down their lives during this war and 19000 US soldiers were wounded or maimed. Civilian death toll was estimated to be more than 25,000.
- Iraq Afghan Veteran Association looks into the welfare of military personnel involved in these two conflicts. It has more than 187,000 veteran members with supporters exceeding 238,000 in numbers today.
- The organization strives to stabilize the lives of veterans by launching several beneficial programs for them. Many of them are launched on the Veteran Day celebrations time. Many social communities are established in various states and districts to highlight the social, financial and health problems faced by the veterans.
- The programs include establishment of support groups, family care, leadership building, technical training, career development and jobs, research group sponsoring, physical fitness and psychological health management etc.
Libya Veterans Day
The US war in Libya started in 2011 when American and NATO coalition went into all out war with the Libyan Arab-Jamahiriya who supported Gaddafi and were backed by mercenaries from other neighboring nations. The US armed forces were involved in one of the most critical operations called odyssey-Dawn. This was followed by the imposition of no fly zone on the Jamahiriya coalition. This was followed by many military conflicts between the two coalitions. The war came to an end with the killing of Gaddafi on 20th October 2011 during warfare.
- War veterans from Libya have been known to keep their distance from media. You may hardly find any mention about their heroic acts during the war. This is probably one of the reasons for which identifying them from the various corners of the nation is a tough task.
- Surprisingly American intervention in Libyan crisis has not been categorized into “wartime” in the Veterans Affairs pension scheme. However, there are many active veteran groups in the US which are fighting relentless legal battles in order to include it into “wartime” welfare and pension schemes. This is due to the reason that minimum pension scheme for wartime veterans in the US is more than $700 every month, apart from medical and civilian facilities.
- The US federal government has introduced many schemes for the healthcare of Libyan veterans, which include free/ subsidized medication and outpatient treatment services. But it seems to stop at this point for the Libyan veterans in many aspects. The Libya Veterans association is fighting hard to get the due benefits even today.
Federal benefits for Veterans
You can find many federal laws and legislations for the benefit of all time war veterans from entire USA. The schemes include Health care, service time disability, pension, training and education, home loans, Life Insurance, death benefits, assistance during transition period, family welfare and miscellaneous benefits. Veterans Day every year around USA brings in many new schemes for the benefit of veterans.
Health care: – This facility includes complete medication, treatment, hospitalization, surgery and post surgical recovery period expenses. You need to find out about the specific clauses that govern these facilities. Enrollment by the Veteran Affairs department is said to be for a period of five years from the date of registration. You can obtain the application form online from the VA department website. The site also displays detailed information about the qualification criteria. You will be able to download the VA-FORM-26-1880, fill it up and send it by post to the address mentioned in the form. The department shall conduct a qualification assessment test after which you will be issued the Veteran health card. Alternately you can also call 1-877-222-8387 between Monday and Friday (8:00-20:00) to get detailed information about your application status. More than 50% of disability during wartime can qualify you for disabled service personnel benefit schemes.
- According to the pay chart released by the federal government in 2016 are said to be the same as in 2015. There is no increase in the social security benefits also. SSI=payments will be increased with effect from January 2016, which will be payable in the month of December 2016.
- The rates are based on the number and status of dependents along with the percentage of disability. Percentages have been categorized into 30%, 40%, 50% and 60%. If you are not aware of the way in which disability percentage is calculated, you can go to the DISABILITY-RATING calculator at .
- Some of the conditions for status of dependents can be summarized into veteran living alone, with spouse only, with spouse and single parent, spouse and two parents, single parent only two parents and additional family members. Minimum rate starts at $407.75 and extends up to $1059.09 for veterans alone. When you are with dependents, the rate may go up to $ 1300+. You will be able to find detailed tables in the site . Here you can also find detailed information about VA disability rates with children, without children and other conditions as specified by the federal government.
Pension Scheme: – Eligibility criteria for pension scheme say that
- You should not be discharged from your duties due to disgraceful reasons.
- Your family income should be below the maximum ceiling value set by the federal government when you were discharged from military services.
- You must have served at least for 90 days in military service actively. Serving for 30 days during wartime can also make you qualify for the pension scheme.
- You should be at least 65 years or older than that. Permanent disability during wartime can also make you qualify, provided the reason for disability is related to combat or war related accidents.
- Pension rates vary from $ 1100 for surviving spouse to $2054 for married veterans. You will be able to find more detailed information from the site .
Training and Education: –
GI-Bill from the American veterans department is able to provide education and training facilities for the children of veterans. If you are a veteran and wish to get benefits for your children, you need to follow certain simple steps.
- GI-BILL-Comparison-Tool can be used to know about educational programs offered by various schools all over the country. You need to input details like your military status, GI-Bill clause and number, cumulative service days etc. In the next step you need to search for the schools by entering city name or school name. Then you click on the search button. The website will display list of all schools in that city. There are options for you to select many features in the school/college / training center. Then you can further refine the search option with filters. Now the search will further narrow the scope of your search and make it more accurate. Once you have got the right school name, click on it to enter the school website.
- Next step is to apply for your GI-bill. It can be done by using the veteran-Online-Application. There are two options given here, out of which the first one is for first time users and the second one is for the experienced users. Read through the guidelines carefully and click on continue after you have understood.
- There are six options in the next screen. You can apply directly online, suspend the process and resume later, delete the application process, print summary, print the completed form or print an empty format form. Click on Continue button.
- If you already have a veteran-Online-Application account, you will be able to login using the user name and password. Even otherwise you will be able to create a new account and continue. When you wish to create a new account, you need to input details of your new online account, password and verification email address.
- In the next stage you will have to input details about your service details and register.
- Now the system will display the online GI-Bill application form. Once you have completed the process, you need to wait for a response from the department of veteran affairs after the approval process. You may get a call from the veterans department which is close to your home. Then you need to submit all your original papers and documents for verification process. Once the verification is complete and approval is obtained, you will be qualified.
VA Home loans: – Mortgage loans are always available for veterans from department of Veterans Affairs at low interest rates.
- You will be able to find many benefits like options for purchasing a new home. The VA does not require you to make any down payment at all. Private-Mortgage-Insurance need has also been eliminated by the VA. There are many types of home-loans, depending on your need and affordability of repayment. They are the reducing interest rate, Native-American-Direct-Loan, housing grants and others.
- Service period, present status and credentials obtained during service period can make a lot of difference to the ways in which your application gets processed. Once you are found eligible for the loan, you can apply with all documents’ scanned copies online. Your application will be processed and you will be called for verification. If you are opting for mortgage, the VA department shall conduct a spot inspection to check the property value of your new home and other information that you have submitted. The department auditor will be able to verify the details and submit his report to the department. If approved, you will be granted the home loan.
Veteran Day Celebrations
So far you have read details about the veteran day history, its types and the benefits obtained by the veterans over the years. This is not all you will be reading about here. The Veterans Day celebrations at various cities all over the nation are also equally important for you.
- The city of New York celebrated the Veterans Day on 11th November 2015. Thousands of veterans from all over USA participated in the events. There were many groups which encouraged Veterans to join the celebrations and parade.
- 2016 Veterans Day celebrations are already in the air and you are invited to register for the event at New York. All you need to do is find the 2016 Veterans Day parade online application, fill it and submit it.
- The application is received by the parade committee and reviewed to check your eligibility. Once you get qualified, you can join your desired group that you have selected.
Similar celebrations happen in Washington and other parts of USA too. The list of events for 2016 is ready. Main event will be held at Arlington national cemetery according to tradition. If you wish to join the celebrations over there, you need to call the number 703-607-8000. You can get registered and take part in the wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of unknown-soldiers. Then you can have the privilege of joining the Veterans Day parade at the cemetery parade ground. Big time celebrations happen in Schools, colleges and other social, cultural and community centers all over the US. If you happen to be still in active service, you can take part in the celebrations at your designated city and camp. Don’t forget to listen to the president’s address to the nation and military personnel on the Veterans Day.