Understanding the Difference Between Veterans Day and Memorial Day

Understanding the Difference Between Veterans Day and Memorial Day

Posted by Hayley Adams on Oct 27th 2022

Veterans Day is always on November 11th, while Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. Both days recognize veterans, but more specifically, Veterans Day honors all veterans, living or dead, and gives thanks to living veterans who served their country during war or peacetime. Meanwhile, Memorial Day honors those who have died during service.

Here is a quick look at the histories from each day to help understand the importance of each of these holidays.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day, on the other hand, recognizes all U.S. veterans for their service and sacrifice on behalf of their country.

It actually originated as “Armistice Day”, to honor the ending of WWI on November 11, 1919. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed 1919 would be the first annual commemoration of the armistice, saying it should be a day of reflections filled with "solemn pride" in the heroism of the country's service members. 

Several years later, Congress made it an official holiday that would be recognized annually and in 1954, they changed the name to Veterans Day, making sure it honored all American veterans -- not just those who served in WWI.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day honors all members of the military who have died serving our country. Previously known as "Decoration Day" because of its tradition of decorating the graves of fallen service members, originating after the Civil War. The first memorial event was held on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Some states continue to recognize Memorial Day on May 30. However, in 1971, federal lawmakers changed the national observance date to be the last Monday in May. They also made sure the day would honor all military members who died in any American Wars -- not just those from the Civil War.


Both holidays are important in each of their ways, and are both great occasions to pause for a moment of remembrance or to thank a veteran. If you are looking for ways to give back to the veteran community, be sure to check out some of these blogs!

If you are a veteran in 2022, you deserve a thank you! Check out some of these nation wide deals from many different companies for all veterans and active military. *Proof of service may be required.

  • Applebees - Veterans and active-duty military can select a free meal from a limited menu on Veterans Day. 
  • Bar Louie - On Veterans Day, Louie Nation is offering a free craft burger or flatbread of your choice to all active-duty military and Veterans.
  • Beef O'Brady's - A free meal for Veterans with a purchase of equal or greater value up to $10 on Veterans Day.
  • BJ's Restaurant - On Veterans Day, all service members can enjoy a complimentary entrée up to $14.95, plus a free Dr. Pepper by presenting a military ID or proof of service.
  • Bob Evans - The chain is offering seven homestyle menu items for Veterans for free.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings -  Veterans and active-duty military who dine in or call for takeout at their local B-Dubs can receive a free order of boneless wings and a side of fries.
  • Chili's Bar and Grill - All Veterans and active-duty military personnel can choose a complimentary meal from a select menu on Veterans Day.
  • CiCi's Pizza - Free adult buffet with valid active-duty or retired military ID on Veterans Day.
  • Denny's - Free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast from 5 a.m. until noon.
  • Dunkin Donuts - Veterans and active-duty military can enjoy a free donut.
  • Freebirds World Burritos - Free chips and dip for Veterans and active-duty military. Choose from queso blanco, guacamole or salsa.
  • Hooters - Veterans will receive a free entrée from a special Hooters Veterans Day Menu.
  • IHOP - Free Red, White and Blueberry pancakes at any IHOP.
  • Insomnia Cookies - Free six-pack in-store with any purchase.
  • Krispy Kreme - A doughnut and coffee on the house.
  • Outback Steakhouse - A free bloomin’ onion and Coca-Cola.
  • Smoothie King - Free 20-ounce smoothie with a military ID on Veterans Day.
  • Starbucks - A free tall (12-ounce) hot or iced coffee
  • Torchy's Taco - A complimentary taco and beverage from a select Veterans Day.
  • Twin Peaks - Veterans can eat for free from a select menu on Veterans Day.
  • Yard House - a complimentary appetizer on Veterans Day with a valid military ID. The offer is valid for dine-in only.

Check your local comminity for more speicals!