November 11th is Veteran’s Day here in the U.S.
During Veteran’s Day, we celebrate and honor the service of our some 19 million veterans of the U.S. military. Formally known as ‘Armistice Day’, the Veteran’s Day was renamed by President Eisenhower, and is celebrated annually.
But did you know that there are several other countries who celebrate this day? From Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom, to Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, let’s see what this holiday looks like around the globe.
veteran’s day around the globe
As mentioned, Remembrance Day is celebrated in the U.K. to remember all those who died in World War I, with celebrants and public figures wearing a poppy to mark the occasion. It was first celebrated in 1919 and observed throughout the British Commonwealth. On November 11, 2 minute silence is held at 11am to reflect on the lives lost during the war.
Known in French as ‘Jour d’armistice,’ Armistice Day is celebrated throughout France, with parades filling the streets and churches holding services in memory of the fallen. Celebrants lay wreaths at war memorials, such as the Arc de Triomphe, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The French use the cornflower to symbolize the day, with the blue representing one of the colours of the French flag, and the color of the uniforms worn by World War I soldiers
Sweden holds a similar holiday to Veteran’s Day on May 29th, with large celebrations concentrated to Stockholm. This day honors those who lost their lives in World War I, the wars that followed, and members of the UN Peacekeepers. Celebrations are attended by veterans, citizens, and the Swedish Royal Family.
The Germans celebrate Veterans day two Sundays before the beginning of Advent. ‘Volkstrauertag’ commemorates the members of all armed forces globally, as well as civilians and victims who were lost in conflict. Traditional celebration includes marches to war memorial sites where celebrants honor those who were lost in the line of duty. At these celebrations, important German figures, such as the Chancellor, deliver speeches.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD) is celebrated in Nigeria on January 15th in commemoration of members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, veterans of both World Wars, and the Nigerian Civil War, the conclusion of which preserved Nigerian unity. A committee of 25 plans for celebration preparations, such as parades, wreath laying, and special AFRD ceremonies.
Australia and New Zealand
Anzac day is celebrated on April 25th in both of these countries, honoring fallen soldiers in Gallipoli during World War I and the veterans of World War II. Serving members of the military and veterans attend celebrations and services early in the day, with veteran parades following immediately after. One tradition of Anzac day is enjoying a “gunfire breakfast”, consisting of coffee with rum after morning ceremonies. This is a nod to the breakfast that many soldiers consumed before battle.