You probably have no trouble recalling the dates of major holidays like Halloween and Christmas, but when it comes to "minor" holidays (as in, national holidays that might result in a day off from school or work but don't involve things like gifts or costume parades or baking), you might have to think for a minute or two to remember where they belong on the calendar. For some people, Veterans Day is one of those holidays. You know it's in November, but, uh... when is Veterans Day 2018?
To be fair, if you have a particularly tough time with Veterans Day, there's actually kind of a good reason. Some holidays are always on the same date and always celebrated on that date, like Christmas: It's always on December 25, and it's always celebrated on December 25, no matter what day of the week it falls on that year. Then there are holidays like Thanksgiving — it's always held on the fourth Thursday in November, but the date (obviously) varies. Confusingly, Veterans Day is another type of holiday altogether... because while it's always on the same date, it's not always celebrated on that date, and this year is one of those years.
Veterans Day 2018 is on November 11, because Veterans Day is always on November 11. However, because November 11 falls on a Sunday this year, Veterans Day will be observed on Monday, November 12, according to TimeAndDate.com — so that schools and workplaces have the opportunity to take a day off to celebrate (or sleep late, or whatever). Which is pretty cool, when you think about it.
Now that you know when Veterans Day is happening, do you know why it's happening? Well, sure... you know that the point of the holiday is to honor veterans, but there's more to it than that.
Veterans Day started out as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919 — the first anniversary of the end of World War I, according to The History Channel website. A resolution was passed in 1926 for an annual observance, though November 11 didn't become a national holiday until 1938. (It wasn't until 1954 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.) And while the holiday was temporarily moved to the fourth Monday in October in 1968, President Gerald Ford restored the original date in 1975 because of its historical significance.
Naturally, Veterans Day bears a strong resemblance to Memorial Day, but it's different in one very important way: It honors all American veterans, living and dead, with a special emphasis on the living. As such, the holiday is especially meaningful to military families, who know firsthand why those who serve and protect our country deserve extra recognition and appreciation.
So while you might spend Memorial Day putting flowers on graves at a military cemetery with your kids, Veterans Day is an opportunity to actually thank a living veteran, face-to-face. Whether it's a family member who served in your child's lifetime or a resident at an assisted living facility who still remembers World War II, there's sure to be a veteran out there who'd be thrilled to see you on your day off this year.