Is it Veterans’ (possessive plural), Veteran’s (possessive singular), or Veterans (as in, the day of Veterans)?
Wearing poppies on November 11 is a British/Commonwealth tradition to remember all their veterans of World War I, inspired by the poem In Flanders Field. This day was also known as Armistice Day pretty universally until after the Korean War. At that point, America had to be different (because MURRICA) and changed the day to remember all veterans who have served. This is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which remembers everyone who died in service.
In America, the difference is: Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer, when pools open and all the stores have massive sales and it is socially acceptable to wear white. Veterans Day is a much smaller blip on the radar because November is dreary and in the awkward holiday no-man’s land between Halloween and Thanksgiving where Christmas music begins playing and people petition for humane shopping arrangements on Black Friday.
My perspective is skewed because, living in DC, everything is about either the military or politics, or some combination of both. When they tell us to go out and thank a veteran, we actually can because we have scads and scads and scads of military around here. While growing up in the Midwest, I don’t recall even considering the existence of Veterans Day. Then again, I went to a private school that didn’t observe federal holidays. But, generally (maybe?) the day wasn’t reinforced like Memorial Day was.
I think the poppy tradition is kind of cool, although after researching a little for this post, this is a seriously hot topic in the Commonwealth : Here, here, here. In America, we don’t have a symbol like that. Our symbol for EVERYTHING is the Star Spangled Banner.
America is full of closet Anglophiles, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we appropriated the poppy for something. There will be people handing out poppies here to a mildly bemused populace.
To get back on track … Remember your veterans. Be nice to a homeless person, who could be a veteran.
In Flanders Field, by John McRae:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.