"Time will not dim the glory of their deeds" ~ General John Pershing
If I am completely honest, it wasn't until I was an adult, married to a young 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army (almost 20 years ago, 4 kids, countless moves, deployments and duty stations now), that I even contemplated the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I feel it's that way with a lot of people, especially those who don't "serve" and especially back then, before our world was so different.
I was a teacher for a long time also and it was one year, when I was teaching Kindergarten, that I realized MOST people don't know the difference. It was probably 2002 or so, and we were talking about Memorial Day in class. I'm sure we had a cutesy craft to complete, probably a flag, and I'm sure I read a book to the class about the holiday, or about something patriotic, but what really stuck out in my mind was what one of my students said.
Her name was Chloe and she told the class about what Memorial Day meant to her. She told us that she had had a brother who died a long time before who was in the Army. He had died in a car crash and on Memorial Day, her family took extra special time to remember people like him who had been in the military but who had died.
She went on to tell our class that Veterans Day is when our country honors anyone who has served in the military. It didn't mater if they were living or dead--we honored their service.
By that time in my life, I knew the difference, but her words always stuck out in my mind. She was and is a great kid and is the child of a U.S. Army service member (retired) and one awesome firecracker of a Brit who took the time to teach her difference between these two holidays. And on Memorial Day each year, I always think of her and her story when I take the time to teach my own children the difference and when I remember those service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom.
Here's a good article that sums it up as well...