“During National Veterans and Military Families, we salute the brave and dedicated patriots who have worn the uniform of the United States, and celebrate the extraordinary military families who selfless service and sacrifice make our military the finest in the world.” – President Donald J. Trump
As we kick off the second annual Veterans and Military Families month, and Veteran’s Day approaches, I think it would be appropriate to look at the history behind Veteran’s Day.
What is Veteran’s Day?
Veteran’s Day, which is a Federal Holiday always held on November November 11th, is a day set to honor the all the men and women who are serving or have served honorably in the military, during war or peacetime.. This year, it will be observed on Monday, November 12th since the 11th falls on a Sunday. 2018 commemorates the centenntial of Armistice Day (originating from the word armistice, or when warring parties agree to stop fighting), recognizing the end of World War I when the hostilities ceased at 11am on November 11th, 1918 (better known as the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month).
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson prolaimed November 11th to be called “Armistice Day” and Armistice Day Day was declared national holiday in 1938 and it was a dedicated only to honor World War I veterans.
In 1947, Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran organized a National Veterans Day parade in Birmingham, Alabama to honor and recognize all veterans of all wars. This is the celebration that led Congress to change Armistice Day to Veterans Days in 1954 and to recogize all U.S. veterans.
However, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill in 1968, moving the holiday to the fourth Monday in October, and the law went into effect in 1971. President Gerald Ford later returned Veterans Day to November 11th due to the important historical significance of the date in 1975.
Our Veterans Today
Here are some facts about the Veteran population of the U.S:
- 16.1M living veterans served during at least one war.
- 5.2M Veterans served during peacetime.
- 2M Veterans are women.
- 5.5M Veterans served during the Vietnam War.
- Of the 16M Americans who served during World War II, about 558,00 are still alive.
- 2M Veterans served during the Korean War.
- 6M Veterans served during peacetime.
- In 2014, three states have more than 1M veterans among their population: California (1.8M), Florida (1.6M) and Texas (1.7M)
- In 1930, the VA health care sytem included 54 hospitals. Today it has 171 medical centers; over 350 outpatient, community and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home units; and 35 live-in care facilities.