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Difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

Memorial Day vs Veterans Day

Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are closely related to each other in that people often interchange these two holidays and usually mistake or mix the celebrations together. Both Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are tied with the celebrations that honor the military personnel who gave their service and duty to the country. Both holidays are observed as federal holidays.

Memorial Day started in 1866. It was formerly known as Decoration Day which was celebrated in 1868. Decoration Day became Memorial Day in 1967. It is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died while in service and duty at times of war. The first to be honored with this holiday are the fallen soldiers of the Civil War which included both the Union and Confederate soldiers. The South was the first to celebrate this day for this purpose.

Memorial Day is commemorated on the last Monday of May. It is usually observed with a solemn remembrance and visits to military cemeteries and other interred places of soldiers. There are also wreath-laying ceremonies on many historic landmarks. Businesses are often closed to commemorate this day

In contrast, Veteran’s Day is celebrated on November 11 as a day to remember the Armistice Day which happened in Europe. The Armistice Day marked the end of the World War I in 1918 when the German forces signed a treaty (The Treaty of Versailles) that declared their surrender to the Allied Powers. It is still called Armistice or Remembrance Day in Europe, and the day was first observed in 1919 in America and declared a legal holiday in 1938. The current name, Veteran’s Day, was adopted in 1954.

Memorial Day is a day for thanking and honoring all who served honorably in the military in both peacetime and wartime. The day is mostly focused on living military personnel who are either in active duty or those who are already retired from the service.

This day is marked by many celebrations and appreciation in the form of parades, sporting events, picnics, and fireworks. Businesses are usually open for this holiday.


1.Memorial Day is focused on military personnel who died in the service while Veteran’s Day pays particular attention and honor to all military personnel whether they are dead, alive, active, reservist, or retired. However, the main highlight is to give appreciation to the living military personnel.
2.Memorial Day has no specific date for its celebration, but it is observed on the last Monday of May while Veterans’ Day is traditionally set on November 11th. The date is significant because it is the date when the Germans surrendered and ended World War I.
3.The first Memorial Day occurred in 1866 in honor of the fallen Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War. It originated in the South and was mainly a U.S. holiday. On the other hand, Veteran’s Day came from Europe for remembering and appreciating the soldiers who served in World War II and the Korean War. It is also celebrated in other countries as well.
4.Memorial Day is characterized as a solemn occasion of remembrance marked by wreath-laying at the resting places of soldiers while Veteran’s Day is more of a jubilant and appreciation occasion with a lot of activities like parades, picnics, sporting events, and fireworks.
5.Businesses are closed in the celebration of Memorial Day as part of the solemnity of the occasion while the businesses are open during Veteran’s Day.
6.Memorial Day is older compared to Veteran’s Day, but the latter is more celebrated around the world.
7.Memorial Day is also celebrated earlier (in May) compared to Veteran’s Day (in November).

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