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Branches of Service
Our veterans come from one of the United States Armed Forces. The United States Army is a branch of the armed services responsible for military and land operations. The Army must be prepared to use swift, forceful actions to overcome any enemy that might threaten the United States or its interest in other parts of the world.
The United States Air Force is a branch of the armed forces responsible for most military operations in the air and space. The Air Force supports ground troops in battle and protects them from air attack and also transport planes and delivers troops with supplies.
The United States Navy is a branch of the armed forces that commands the sea. The presence of naval vessels may be helpful in keeping a crisis from flaring into war. Navy ships are available in times of need when disaster or an emergency strikes.
The United States Marines serve at sea, on land, and in the air. Marines receive special training for all the tasks they are expected to perform. Nearly all the major nations maintain marine forces for naval infantry.
The United States Coast Guard serves as the chief agency for protecting life and property at sea and enforcing maritime laws. In time of war, the coast guard becomes part of the Navy.
The origins of Veteran’s Day go back to World War I. World War I was known at the time as the “Great War.” It officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles,which was signed in France. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 is regarded as the end of the “war to end all wars.”
In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first Armistice Day with the following words… ”To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of all nations.”
In 1938 the United States Congress made November 11 of each year a legal holiday. Communities across America would celebrate with parades and public ceremonies to demonstrate their patriotism. It was originally known as Armistice Day and was to be dedicated to world peace.However in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veteran’s service organizations, amended the act of 1938 by crossing out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” On June 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law number 380 and November 11 officially became Veteran’s Day, a day to honor all American veterans of all wars.
World War I (1914–1918) is known as “The Great War.” In 1917, the U.S. joined Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and Japan, who were at war with the Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey, after German submarines began sinking unarmed ships.
World War II (1939–1945) Germany, Italy, and Japan attempted to dominate the world. The United States, Great Britain, France, USSR, and others fought to stop them. The United States entered the war in 1941 after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Germany surrendered in 1945, and Japan surrendered later that same year.
Korean War (1950–1953) North Korea invaded South Korea. United Nations forces, mostly made up of U.S. troops, fought successfully to protect South Korea.
Vietnam War (1961–1973) In 1955, North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. The United States joined the war on the side of South Vietnam in 1961, but withdrew combat troops in 1973. In 1975, North Vietnam succeeded in taking control of South Vietnam.
Gulf War (1991) Iraq invaded Kuwait, and a U.S-led multinational force came to Kuwait's aid and expelled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's forces.
Afghanistan (2001– Present) The Taliban government hid Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist group, responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. After Afghanistan refused to turn over Bin Laden, the United States and United Nations forces invaded. The Taliban government was ousted and many terrorist camps in Afghanistan were destroyed. U.S. and NATO troops remain in Afghanistan to support its fragile new government.Global war on Terrorism (2003– Present) The United States and Great Britain invaded and toppled the government of dictator Saddam Hussein. Troops remain in Iraq to combat the insurgency that formed after Hussein's defeat.
The Medal of Honor
Of all the awards that a member of the U.S. armed forces can receive, none is more prestigious than the Medal of Honor. It is the military’s highest honor, awarded to officers and enlisted personnel alike for individual acts of bravery in combat.
The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The second highest military decoration of the United States Army, awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. The Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy Cross (Navy and Marine Corps) and the Air Force Cross (Air Force).
The Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest award for bravery in combat given by the United States military.
The Purple Heart
The Purple Heart, the oldest military decoration in the world still in use, is awarded to those wounded or killed as a result of engaging the enemy while serving in the U.S. military.