We essentially have three major holidays (and holiday weekends) dedicated to our country and those individuals that helped make it what it is.  In the past even politicians have mixed up the days and protocol so let's look at each.

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Typically the President Attends a Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at

Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Memorial Day

This weekend we observe Memorial Day - I hesitate to use the word celebrate although it is a celebration of sorts. A celebration of the lives of those that thought enough of our way of life, our liberties and freedoms and our Constitution, to lay it all on the line in their defense.  Memorial Day honors those that have given their lives in the service of the United States.  It's not proper to thank a veteran you know for his service on Memorial Day - because those that we honor are the fallen. In many ways this is our most sacred National Holiday as it honors those that never came home and gave all they had so that we can eat hot dogs in freedom at the beach.  Enjoy the weekend, but give some time for solemn thoughts to those that gave it all they had.

Win McNamee

Next on the calendar is the Fourth of July - we don't really thank our veterans here either, but rather those disgruntled farmers that came together (I'm skipping a LOT of historical detail here) and declared that our leader at the time, King George of England was unfair with his subjects particularly in the areas of taxation.  

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This holiday is when we think of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and JOHN HANCOCK among others that made their unhappiness known to the King via the Declaration of Independence - the writing of which was finished on 4 July 1776 in Philadelphia.  This is no small holiday or something to sneeze at - the guys that put their names on this paper risked immediate death, the loss of all their property (technically the King's anyway) should they have been caught by the British Army over the next seven years, which is how long it took to fight that war.

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We celebrate the 4th of July loudly and proudly and it's famous for lots of fireworks displays such as over the lake by the civic center.

Paul Marotta

The last holiday in the triad is Veterans Day observed on November 11th.  More specifically Veterans Day happens at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918. This is the exact time that World War I ended with the signing of an Armistice in a French rail car.  Until 1954 in the US this was called Armistice Day when it was changed to Veterans Day.

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Though no country was declared a 'winner' of the war, Germany was held accountable for nearly all damages, which ginned up problems later on...but after five years of some of the most brutal fighting and death Europe had ever known, everyone was ready to just stop. Veterans Day is the day we set aside to literally thank our veterans, the one's we know personally and all those that have put on the uniform in service to the United States.

So there, the three major holidays of national observance, that have nothing to do with political parties at all - just recognition of those that put on the uniform and those that dreamed up this great representative republic. 

Memorial Day - Honor those that fell in service

Fourth of July - Celebrate the Birth of a Nation

Veterans Day - Thank a Vet for their service to the country