The United States has celebrated significant military victories and commemorated the end of major wars throughout its history. However, the country does not officially mark these events with a designated national “US Victory Day” holiday. Establishing such a holiday could provide a day to collectively honor all American veterans, recognize their heroic efforts and sacrifices, reflect on the joyful end of conflicts, and celebrate the ideals of liberty and justice. This article will explore major US victory commemorations, suggest purposes for an official US Victory Day, propose potential dates, and describe how it could be celebrated. While fictional, a national Victory Day would fittingly commemorate those who served and express gratitude for peace after war’s immense toll.
Major US Military Victories and End of War Commemorations
The Revolutionary War led to American independence from Britain. Key victories were commemorated, including the end of the war.
Surrender at Yorktown
The 1781 American and French victory over the British at Yorktown, VA secured independence. Some founding fathers advocated commemorating Yorktown over July 4th as Independence Day.
Evacuation Day on November 25 marks the 1783 British evacuation of New York City, their last military position in the new United States.
War of 1812
A few major victories in the War of 1812 were celebrated, especially the Battle of New Orleans which occurred after the peace treaty was signed.
Battle of New Orleans
The January 1815 American victory outside New Orleans ended the War of 1812 on a victorious note. It was commemorated into the 20th century.
The Confederacy’s surrender ended the Civil War, leading to emancipation and reunification. Juneteenth honors the end of slavery.
Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses Grant at Appomattox Court House in April 1865, signaling the Civil War’s end.
Juneteenth celebrates the June 19, 1865 announcement of emancipation in Texas, marking the end of slavery. It became a federal holiday in 2021.
World War I
Armistice Day marked the ceasefire ending World War I. America initially celebrated but lost interest until its revival as Veterans Day.
November 11, 1918 was the armistice ending World War I. Armistice Day events honored veterans annually but waned until renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
World War II
Allied victory in Europe and Japan ended World War II, the deadliest conflict in history. V-E Day and V-J Day celebrated war’s end.
Victory in Europe Day on May 8, 1945 celebrated Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender, ending the war in Europe.
Victory over Japan Day marked Japan’s August 15, 1945 surrender, ending WWII. The date is controversial given the atomic bombings.
Establishing an Official US Victory Day
Honoring All Who Served
A US Victory Day could honor veterans of all conflicts, not just designated wars. From Bunker Hill to Iraq, millions served America with honor and bravery. The day would recognize their sacrifices.
Celebrating Military Successes
The holiday could also celebrate successful military campaigns that advanced freedom. America revolutionized warfare itself with citizen-soldiers. US Victory Day would highlight such accomplishments.
Recognizing End of Major Wars
Importantly, the day would commemorate when major conflicts finally concluded, memorializing their immense human toll. Peace after horrific warfare merits celebration.
Potential Dates for US Victory Day
May 8 – Unconditional Surrender in Europe
May 8 (V-E Day) marks Nazi Germany’s 1945 unconditional surrender, ending the war in Europe. Some argue victory in the war’s European theater deserves recognition as the holiday date.
August 14 – End of World War II
August 14 could honor Imperial Japan’s 1945 surrender, ultimately ending the wider World War II. However, the atomic bombings preceding raise complex ethical issues.
November 11 – Armistice Day
November 11 (Armistice Day) remembers the ceasefire ending World War I in 1918. Originally celebrating world peace, it bears symbolic meaning.
Traditions to Celebrate US Victory Day
Veterans Parades and Events
Local parades honoring all veterans would let communities celebrate service members and military accomplishments through America’s history.
Solemn wreath laying ceremonies, moments of silence, and reading of celebrated wartime speeches (e.g. Gettysburg Address) would honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Victory Gardens and Feasts
Citizens could plant victory gardens or prepare community feasts as past generations did to memorialize shared war efforts on the home front.
While the United States lacks an official Victory Day holiday, many moments in its history deserve celebration – from revolutionary beginnings to hard-fought campaigns to terrible wars’ conclusions. Establishing a US Victory Day would provide a unifying occasion for Americans to honor those who served, reflect on military feats, and joyfully remember when peace finally arrived after bloody conflicts. America is the land of the free because of the brave.