Today, we honor those who have fought for country to keep the rest of us safe. Veterans Day has been celebrated nearly one hundred years now. Beginning on this day in 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I, Veterans Day was first known as Armistice Day. It wasn’t until 1926 that the day would begin to be observed annually when Congress passed a resolution. Another 12 years later, 1938, the day became a national holiday still being known as Armistice Day.
The name of the national Holiday wasn’t changed for another 16 years. In 1954, the name was officially changed by president at the time, Eisenhower. The day has always been celebrated on November 11, with the exception of 4 years. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill which moved the celebration of Veterans Day. The law went into effect in 1971 and wasn’t changed again until 1975. In that year, President Ford returned the day to November 11 due to the historical significance of the date.
While many people confuse Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, they are not the same. Memorial Day honors veterans who died due to their service in the military. Veteran’s Day, on the other hand, celebrates all veterans, both living and those who have passed. The most celebrated veterans are those who are still with us today and served during war or peacetime.
We are not the only country to celebrate our veterans on this day or close to today’s date. Countries like Britain, France, Canada and Australia celebrate the veterans of World War I and II. Instead of Veteran’s Day, Canada has Remembrance Day and Britain has Remembrance Sunday, which is the second Sunday of November. It is common in the commonwealth countries of Europe to observe two minutes of silence every November 11 at 11 am.
Many people have served and fought for our country. They come from all different walks of life and are an important part of our communities. Below are a few facts about our veterans and Veterans Day:
- 16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war.
- 5.2 million veterans served in peacetime.
- 2 million veterans are women.
- 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975).
- 5.5 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
- Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II (1941-1945), about 620,000 are still alive.
- 2 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
- 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
- As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
- As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million), Texas (1.7 million).
- The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.
If you know a veteran or see one throughout your day, don’t forget to shake their hand and thank them for their service in protecting the rest of us.
For more facts about Veteran’s Day, visit here.