Why it’s important to know the difference between these 3 veteran holidays; PSA

“Now you know and knowing is half the battle.”

Barry Gipson
3 min readMay 25, 2024
Let’s examine why Memorial Day differs from these other two veteran holidays.

Never Fails

I wore the fabric of this nation in the Navy for 23 years. Thirteen of those years were in a recruiting capacity. While on the streets recruiting every veteran holiday I would feel the love while in uniform. On Memorial Day I found myself helping others understand why this holiday differed from the other two instead.

Growing up as a kid after school each day in Thrall, TX I would hurry home to watch the afternoon cartoons on television like G.I. JOE. During each episode, there was a Public Service Announcement (PSA).

Before retiring in 2016 I published my first article on LinkedIn about veteran holidays. Eight years later it’s time to revise and publish on Medium. It's important to know the difference between these 3 holidays.

Because why would you thank a veteran on Memorial Day anyway? It never fails. Strangers will thank you for your service on this day anyway.

The original idea for the action figure that would become G.I. Joe was developed in 1963 by Stanley Weston, a Manhattan licensing agent.

1. Armed Forces Day

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days.

The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department — the Department of Defense.Each of the military leagues and orders was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in order to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day.

The Army, Navy, and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day but supports Armed Forces Day, too.

2. Veterans Day

Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military — in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service.

To acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served — not only those who died — have sacrificed and done their duty.

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained during battle.

3. Memorial Day

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May 27th, 2024. To remember those men and women who died while in the military service. This is the living difference between the other 2 veteran holidays.

In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

History, meaning behind holiday honoring fallen U.S. soldiers. Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States that honors members of the military who died while serving our country. Don’t thank a veteran on Memorial Day, go to a cemetery instead this May and pay your respects.

PSA. Just don’t do what a stranger says this Memorial Day. Are you a new reader here? Be sure to follow me on Medium this Memorial Day. Now you know and knowing is half the battle!



Barry Gipson

A Father, Dallas Cowboys, LA Lakers fan, and veteran sharing insights and more for the '24 NFL & NBA seasons. A pivot in content.