Veterans Day takes place on November 11th each year in the US and has since the beginning of the holiday on November 11th, 1919. It began a year after the end of World War I, but the date memorializes the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” signaling the end of WWI in 1918. There have been multiple instances in which leaders have changed the date of celebration and honor, but it has always reverted to the original November 11th date.
Originally the holiday was referred to as Armistice Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954. This allowed the day to commemorate veterans of all wars, all ages, and whether those veterans were living or lost in battle. It is important that Veterans Day is not misunderstood when compared to Memorial Day. Memorial Day is to honor those who lost their lives in battle, while Veterans Day accomplishes this, accompanied by thanking living veterans who have served their country.
Many celebrations take place throughout the United States, but the most notable is the wreath-laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery. A wreath is laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, a similar action to that of other countries celebrating Veterans Day such as Great Britain and France.
There are roughly 18 million veterans living in the United States in 2020, with about 655,000 living in VA. Unity Park and the American Flag on its property are symbols of appreciation to our active military and veterans. We hope they are reminded of our gratitude when they pass the flag on Interstate-95, or when they see our pictures online and through social media.
For more information or to learn how you can visit Unity Park, explore our site at www.unityparkva.com.
Unity Park is home to the tallest flagpole in Virginia, with its flag being seen by many drivers from Interstate 95 and 288 in Chester daily. On November 18th, 2018, Unity Park was opened to the public and declared a national landmark. The flag was raised as a symbol of thanks to our military and first responders, although Unity Park is open for all to come celebrate our great nation.
In the spirit of celebration and unification, what don’t we know about the flag we see every day?
The most recent iteration of the flag, with 50 stars and 13 stripes, was adopted after a 17 year-old high school student designed the new flag for a school project. Robert G. Heft’s design was chosen by President Dwight D. Eisenhower from over 1,000 entries. This means the flag has been changed a total of 27 times since its first official version in 1777!
The different colors bear different meanings. Red shows “hardiness and valor,” blue shows “vigilance, perseverance, and justice,” and white shows “purity and innocence.” And though you may think this is where the term “Old Glory” comes from, it’s not! Sea captain William Driver coined the term after being gifted a different U.S flag which he flew from the mast of his ship. Later, the name began to be associated with any American flag.
May 30th was established as Flag Day in 1916 by Woodrow Wilson, acting from the flag resolution. Later in 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress declaring June 14th as National Flag Day. To this day, Pennsylvania is the only state that celebrates Flag Day as a statewide holiday.
Though this national symbol is seen every day, there is still much to be learned about its presence. For more information, and to see the tallest flagpole in Virginia, visit Unity Park at 1800 Coxendale Road, Chester, Virginia 23836.