6 Great Destinations to Visit on Veterans Day

From Boston, Massachusetts and Saratoga, New York to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Mobile, Alabama, our list of great destinations to visit on Veterans Day offer new perspectives on being a veteran and the opportunity to honor those, current and past, who have served in the US military.

In honor of Veterans Day, celebrated annually on November 11, we’ve found some great destinations that are steeped in military history.

Touring USS Constitution also known as Old Ironside, Boston, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring USS Constitution also known as Old Ironside, Boston, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Veterans Day, first celebrated in 1919 under the proclamation of Woodrow Wilson, Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and was in honor of the end of hostilities at the end of World War I (which formally ended in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918). The holiday changed to its modern form in 1954.

Boston Freedom Trail

As the “Cradle of the Revolution”, Boston is full of history like no other city in America.

Touring USS Constitution also known as Old Ironside, Boston, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring USS Constitution also known as Old Ironside, Boston, Massachusetts. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A trip to Boston is necessarily a trip into American history. Boston was the center of the revolutionary movement in the 1770s, and the monuments to those glorious times still stand.

Freedom Trail, the red-brick line through the city takes us on a tour of 16 sites in Boston’s history for two and a half miles, including Boston Common, the State House, Granary Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House, the Old Statehouse, the Boston Massacre Site, Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, the USS Constitution (Old Ironside). and Bunker Hill Monument.

Touring Saratoga National Historical Park, New York. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Touring Saratoga National Historical Park, New York. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Saratoga National Historical Park

The first significant American military victory during the Revolution, the Battles of Saratoga (September 19 and October 7, 1777) ranks among the fifteen most decisive battles in world history. Here in the autumn of 1777 American forces met, defeated, and forced a major British army to surrender. This crucial American victory in the Battle of Saratoga renewed patriots’ hopes for independence, secured essential foreign recognition and support, and forever changed the face of the world.

Battlefield tours on your own, on a bus, or with a Licensed Battlefield Guide can be arranged at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Battlefield tours on your own, on a bus, or with a Licensed Battlefield Guide can be arranged at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gettysburg Battlefield

The last war to be fought on American soil was the Civil War, and one of its most renowned battles was that of Gettysburg, where around 50,000 casualties were suffered. Now visitors can step back in time and stroll through the battlefields, see where Lincoln delivered his famous “Gettysburg Address” at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, tour the museum and even horseback ride along the trails. For a war that was so long ago, Gettysburg is the place where it becomes real and the sacrifices soldiers made become tangible.

Thanks to the fact that it was all but deserted after the Civil War, it looks a lot like it must have when Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanks to the fact that it was all but deserted after the Civil War, it looks a lot like it must have when Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Appomattox Court House National Historic Park

The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park commemorates the heroic acts which took place in April of 1865 in this, the original village, to bring about the end of the Civil War.

Walk the old country lanes where Robert E. Lee, Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his men to Ulysses Grant, General-in-Chief of all United States forces, on April 9, 1865. Imagine the events that signaled the end of the Southern States’ attempt to create a separate nation.

Designated a National Historic Landmark, the USS Alabama stretches 680 feet long and stands 20 stories tall. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Designated a National Historic Landmark, the USS Alabama stretches 680 feet long and stands 20 stories tall. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Stretching longer than two football fields, this World War II battleship today welcomes visitors to explore its deck, guns, machinery and bunks. Home to 2,500 sailors, it won numerous battle commendations, and led the American Fleet into Tokyo Bay as the war ended. The park also has the World War II USS Drum submarine.

The Alamo

Remember the Alamo? Once you’ve been there, it’s impossible to forget. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Remember the Alamo? Once you’ve been there, it’s impossible to forget. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Remember the Alamo? Once you’ve been there, it’s impossible to forget.

The story is well known, passed down from one generation to the next. For nearly two weeks, 189 Texans stood tall against the assembled army of Mexican General Lopez de Santa Anna at a small mission and fortress compound in San Antonio. On the 13th day—March 6, 1836—the Alamo finally fell, and its defenders became American legends.

The aftermath has inspired Americans for almost 180 years, and the battle cry “Remember the Alamo?” has been repeated over and over again.

Thank you veterans!

Worth Pondering…

While only one day of the year is dedicated solely to honoring our veterans, Americans must never forget the sacrifices that many of our fellow countrymen have made to defend our country and protect our freedoms.

—Randy Neugebaue

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