Veterans Day: Honoring the Heroes Who Served
Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on November 11, 1919, to commemorate the end of World War I. Over the years, this day has evolved to honor all those who have selflessly served their country in times of war and peace. Congress passed a resolution in 1926, making it an annual observance, and in 1938, it became a national holiday. In 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor veterans from all wars. Today, this day holds great significance as the nation comes together to show gratitude and respect for the brave men and women who have defended our country.
In the United States in 2022, there are approximately 16.2 million military veterans. This accounts for 6.2% of the total civilian population aged 18 and over. Among these veterans, 1.7 million are women, making up 10.3% of the total veteran population. The diversity among veterans is notable, with various racial and ethnic backgrounds represented.
When we consider the history of veterans, it is important to acknowledge the different wars they have served in. While only 0.8% of veterans in 2022 served in World War II, 4.1% served in the Korean War, 33.6% in the Vietnam War, 24.4% in the first Gulf War, and 26.3% in the second Gulf War. These numbers highlight the sacrifices made by veterans across generations and the range of experiences they have encountered in service to their country.
The veteran population in 2022 is characterized by its diversity. Among veterans, 8.6% identify as Hispanic or Latino. The majority of veterans, 72.3%, identify as White alone (not Hispanic or Latino). African Americans make up 12.4% of the veteran population, while Asian Americans account for 2.1%. Additionally, 0.8% are American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.2% identify as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. It is worth noting that these percentages only include those who have reported a single race.
In 2022, the age distribution among veterans is varied. Veterans aged 75 and older make up 26.5% of the population, demonstrating the wisdom and experience they bring from decades of service. In contrast, 8.5% of veterans are younger than 35 years old, representing a new generation of heroes stepping forward to protect and serve their country.
On Veterans Day, our nation comes together to honor and show gratitude to those who have served. Parades and ceremonies take place across the country, paying tribute to the bravery and sacrifices made by military veterans. One powerful example of this recognition is the ceremony held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. This solemn and moving event serves as a reminder of the dedication and unknown sacrifices made by countless individuals in service to our nation.
Veterans Day is a time for us to reflect on the significant contributions made by veterans. From World War II to the present day, these brave individuals have defended our country and protected our freedoms. As we observe Veterans Day, let us honor their dedication, bravery, and selflessness. Let us express our gratitude for their service and work towards creating a society that supports and uplifts our veterans. Together, we can ensure that their sacrifices are never forgotten.