A Message from Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson
America's veterans are the face of America. They come from all walks of life, all ages, all ethnicities. They served our Nation honorably and well and we honor that service, but how do we honor the veteran – the individual who put on the uniform and gave his or her all for our country?
Last spring I had the privilege of attending the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day ceremonies in Sydney, Australia. ANZAC Day is the most important national holiday in Australia, a combination of Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
It was established to commemorate the more than 8,000 Australians killed in the battle of Gallipoli in World War I, and now honors all Australian and New Zealand veterans.
One of the things that stood out during the day-long ceremonies was how all of the veterans and surviving family members wore their medals and campaign ribbons. It focused public pride and attention on those veterans as individuals with personal histories of service and sacrifice for the common good.
That is why I am calling on America's veterans to wear their military medals this Veterans Day, November 11, 2006. Wearing their medals will demonstrate the deep pride our veterans have in their military service and bring Veterans Day home to all American citizens.
Veterans, wear your pride on your left side this Veterans Day! Let America know who you are and what you did for freedom.
The above comes from the website for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The page also includes links for ordering lost medals, verifying medals one is eligible for, and the correct order of precedence for medals.
I've always admired the Brit custom of wearing one's medals on Remembrance Day (Armistice/Veterans' Day) and other holidays. I'd like to see it catch on here in the States, too.