“In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in a quiet commemoration of a historic day of peace,” said John F. Kennedy in his 1961 Veterans Day Address. This year more than most, those words have the ring of truth.

The first Veterans Day (or Armistice Day, as it was originally called) was created in hope of lasting peace. It commemorated the day and moment – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, or 11:00 a.m. on November 11 – that World War I drew to a hard-won close. In 1954, the holiday was renamed in honor of all men and women who have served the country, in war and in peace.

It’s not the first time Americans have defied the circumstances to honor veterans: In 1968, the holiday was moved to the fourth Monday in October – so that government workers could enjoy a long weekend. But Americans bristled at the change, pointing to the significance and meaning of the original armistice. Many continued to celebrate on the 11th instead, and in 1978, the holiday was restored to its original date.

Although traditional Veterans Day celebrations – like parades and public ceremonies – will be put on hold this year, there are plenty of ways to celebrate safely.

  • Observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m. The simplest and most traditional way to honor America’s veterans hasn’t changed: On the anniversary of the armistice at 11 a.m., take a moment from your day to reflect on the valor and selflessness of those who have served.
  • Donate to a veterans fund. What better way to thank veterans than by supporting charities that serve them?  From counseling and support groups to physical and employment assistance, these organizations help veterans adjust to civilian life, overcome injuries and trauma, and build new careers.There are plenty to choose from: the Fisher House Foundation, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service TrustHomes for Our Troops, and even Puppies Behind Bars, which trains service dogs for soldiers returning from war. You can find an extensive list of the highest-rated nonprofits at Charity Navigator.
  • Watch a ceremony online. Although you may not be able to attend a ceremony in person this year, many national organizations are streaming their events live online. You can watch the traditional wreath-laying at the National Veterans Day Observance on Facebook here, and The National Veterans Memorial and Museum will stream a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Facebook and

At The Mayflower, we’re thanking each of our 60 veterans with patriotic pins and personalized cards – as well as a holiday gift for all our residents. Although our annual Veterans Day ceremony won’t take place, residents can tune in to our in-house channel to watch last year’s ceremony and interviews with veterans in our community. Our newsletter, Compass, will also honor the holiday with a special Veterans Day issue.

To read the stories of the many veterans who call The Mayflower home, check out past issues of our Navigator magazine. You can also explore our community online – including renderings and floor plans of our Bristol Landing expansion. For more information, send us a message, or give us a call at 407-672-1620.