New military spouses must learn a foreign language filled with acronyms and jargon that is challenging to master. Understanding the true meaning behind days of recognition can also be a daunting task. Suddenly, as a military spouse, the significance of Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day is much more important to you and your family. So, let’s take a look at Veterans Day and how it differs from other days honoring the uniformed services.

Veterans Day 101

Do you realize that Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe? I have been a military spouse for almost 16 years and this is the first year I have known this. The day does not belong to just one person or a particular group. Instead, it is a day to celebrate all who have served, and the purpose is to honor all veterans.

By definition, a military veteran has served but is no longer serving in the military. War or combat veterans include anyone ordered by a United States Armed Forces branch to support an activity against a United States Enemy. Veterans Day always takes place on November, 11th no matter the day of the week on which it falls. The day is a federal holiday, and in most states, it is also a state holiday.

Veterans Day honors all who have served in the military, whether their service included war or peace. The day makes a point to thank all for their service sacrifices, including those who are still living. Veterans Day celebrations may consist of parades, church services, and other ways of honoring our veterans.

Memorial Day 101

Many people confuse the meaning of Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While Veterans Day celebrates all who have served, Memorial Day is a day dedicated to remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in service to their country.

Memorial Day is both a federal and state holiday and takes place on the last Monday of May. Celebrations on this day often include parades and military ceremonies. Many people associate Memorial Day with the beginning of summer, picnics, pool parties, and barbeques. However, as a military spouse, this day will take on a new meaning for many and come to symbolize much more than summer.

Armed Forces Day 101

Now let’s take a look at Armed Forces Day, which should not be confused with either of the other two days of recognition. The purpose of this day is to honor all the men and women currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It includes and celebrates all branches of the service.

Armed Forces Day takes place on the third Saturday in May and is not a federal or state holiday. Ways to mark this occasion include attending special events on military installations, wearing American colors, and thanking service members. Parades and other celebrations may also take place.

Many things can be confusing as a new military spouse. Honoring our current and past heroes shouldn’t be one of them. As military spouses, we should have a clear understanding of the days set aside to honor our service members both past and present. Thank you to all of our members of the U.S. Armed Forces currently serving our country. Thank you to all of our veterans for your past service. Words do not offer enough gratitude for all of the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their life in service to our country. However, we as military spouses will honor and remember you, your service, and sacrifice forever.




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