What Is the Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

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Memorial Day is specifically for remembering those who have fallen in battle in service of the United States. Veterans Day honors all Americans who have served in the military, both living and deceased.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day after the American Civil War to remember and memorialize the soldiers who died during the war. The first type of memorial day ceremony was held on May 1, 1865, when 3,000 African-Americans came together at Hampton Park Race Course in Charleston, S.C., to recognize the 257 Union soldiers who were killed there and buried in a mass grave. Memorial Day was officially made a federal holiday in 1967. The holiday is celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Veterans Day is an American holiday that celebrates all Americans who have served in the military but that focuses more on those who are currently serving and on living veterans. The holiday is observed on November 11th to coincide with the armistice that ended the fighting on the Western front of World War I. The holiday was originally known as Armistice Day, but the name was changed in 1954. Although there are three commonly used spellings of the holiday, with and without apostrophes, the correct spelling is Veterans Day, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. The holiday is celebrated all over the world in different countries and often under a different name.