Veterans Day History

Inaugural Philly Veterans ParadeWith the Presidential election still fresh in our minds, what better time to celebrate Veterans Day and recognize those who selflessly served our country so we could enjoy our many freedoms like the right to vote.

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and November 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day – a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans – living or dead – but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Britain, France, Australia, and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th. Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In these countries, people will wear small paper poppy flowers on their clothing in the weeks prior to Remembrance Sunday. This signifies how soldiers in World War I fought in the poppy fields of France. In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11 as World War I officially ended at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918. The brave men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children, and grandparents. They are friends, neighbors, coworkers, and an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the current veteran population of the United States.

  • 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 August 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, three states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million), Texas (1.7 million).

To all our veterans, a BIG thank you from a grateful nation for your service! Enjoy your day!

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