Memorial Day and Veterans Day are both Federal Holidays, but they are celebrated for different reasons. That doesn't keep people from getting the two holidays mixed up. They both honor those who served in the armed forces, but they came about following two different wars to celebrate two different groups of people.

Memorial Day is a day to remember all those who died while serving in any branch of the military. Veterans Day is to honor all the people who have worn the uniform and served in any branch of the armed forces. So, you can clearly see how different the holidays are.

Those who died

The origin of Memorial Day goes back to the Civil War, and it initially included only those who died in that war. The holiday was called Decoration Day because Americans decorated the graves of those who died in the Civil War as a way of mourning the soldiers. It was observed on May 30 because Major General John A. Logan declared that in 1858.

Today, the holiday is not limited to honor only those who died in the Civil War. It includes everyone who died while serving the country. An act of Congress in 1971 proclaimed that Memorial Day will be celebrated as a legal holiday the last Monday in May no matter what the date is.

The National Moment of Remembrance Act was passed in 2000.

People were asked to stop whatever they were doing at 3 p.m. and remember those who lost their lives while serving the country.

Even though the real reason for celebrating this holiday is to honor those who died while serving their country, many people visit the graves of family members who did not serve in the military. People celebrate with cookouts and going to the beach because Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of the summer.

All veterans

The origin of Veterans Day goes back to World War I. It was first called Armistice Day. It is celebrated on November 11 because World War I ended on November 11, 1918. However, it was not celebrated until the next year, and it did not become a legal holiday until an act of Congress made it so in 1938. In 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all veterans, and it was not limited to those who served only in World War I.

In order to eliminate the confusion about the two federal holidays, keep in mind that Memorial Day is the time to remember those who died while serving, and Veterans Day is to celebrate all veterans.

Government offices are closed on Memorial Day and Veterans Day because both are official United States public holidays.