For most of us Veterans Day just means a chance to enjoy an extra day off from school or work. However this November 11th, be sure to spend a few minutes on its true purpose, by acknowledging the men and women who have served in our armed forces. These include the members of the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Coast Guard.

And you don't have to stop at just this one day. Join the over 10,000 youth members of the Young Marines group that honor these brave men and women all year long with special events and thoroughly spoil them for an entire week, from November 4 - 11th, by visiting hospitalized veterans, performing chores for disabled veterans and even organizing community-wide social events. The program open to kids ranging from the age of eight all the way to high school, is a great way to not only show your appreciation, but also, get a chance to do some fun activities with like-minded kids and make a real difference in a veterans life.

Originally dubbed Armistice Day, the holiday was first celebrated in 1938 to honor the soldiers that served in World War 1. November 11th was picked as the date because the war ended at 11 am on 11.11.1918. In 1954, after the US had been involved in two additional wars - World War II and the Korean War, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day, to honor the brave soldiers that had fought in all three wars.

People often believe that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are celebrated for the same reason. There is however a subtle but important difference between the two. While both honor our military personnel, the former is a day to remember and pay respect to all the men and women that died serving our country in a war, while Veterans Day is to celebrate the soldiers who are still alive and served in the forces at anytime, during peace or war.

Though several other countries celebrate this day in honor of their own veterans, the significance is slightly different for each one. Some like the United Kingdom, celebrate it in honor of all soldiers - living or dead, while others like Canada celebrate it to honor all living veterans. They also call it different names. France and New Zealand still call it Armistice Day. In the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada it is referred to as Remembrance Day, while Malta and South Africa celebrate it as Poppy Day.

No matter what it is called, the reason for observing the day is the same - To show our gratitude to the brave men and women who sacrifice everything to make this world a safer place for the rest of us.