What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day, which falls on November 11 each year and honors those who fought in America’s wars and were discharged into anything but disreputable conditions.
Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day. (Photo: Zachary D. Behrend/US Navy)

(CBS 42) — While some may see Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer — and the possibility of a three-day weekend — the day carries a weightier meaning.

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday in May, honors Americans who have given their lives in service.

It was declared a national holiday by Congress in 1968.

The history of the day technically began over 100 years earlier when, in 1866, Waterloo, New York, held a city-wide “Decorating Day.” According USOcitizens were encouraged to place memorials on soldiers’ graves.

Two years later, Major General John A. Logan, the leader of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, established the first ever National Decorating Daythe occasion for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.

He moved the day to May 30, a time when the flowers would be in bloom.

Until World War I, Decoration Day honored those who fought in the Civil War. In the decades since its inception, the day has become better known as Memorial Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs Explain.

Congress designated Memorial Day as a national holiday through the Uniform Holiday Bill passed in 1968 — it went into effect in 1971 — and officially moved it from May 30 to the last Monday of the month.

Memorial Day is often confused with veterans daywhich falls on November 11 each year and honors those who fought in America’s wars and were discharged in conditions other than disreputable.

Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, became a public holiday in May 1938.

After World War II, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day as part of the Uniform Holidays Bill.

Memorial Day should also not be confused with another military holiday in May, Armed Forces Day.

Celebrated on the third Saturday of the month, armed forces day honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.

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