Millions honored today
with special observance
Many working people across the nation on Monday will have a holiday to mark Veterans Day, which is today.
Decades removed from its first observance as a holiday in 1926, with a name that it didn’t have until 1954, and many people disinterested in honoring veterans of America’s military branches, Veterans Day too easily slips through the intent of personal and community observances.
The day originally celebrated the peace when World War I fighting ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as Nov. 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the U.S. in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day, honoring all U.S. veterans, living and deceased.
Today is a somber day of remembrance, and it is not all about the distant past. Every young soldier returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, every person who has served in uniform for our nation at any place and in any time, is a veteran..
In Washington, at 11 a.m. today, a combined color guard representing all military services executes “Present Arms” at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In fact, veterans by their sheer numbers cannot be ignored:
– They are 24 million strong.
– About 1.7 million are women.
– About 2.4 million are African American, 1.1 million are Hispanic, 292,000 are Asian, 169,000 are American Indian or Alaska Native, and 28,000 are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
– About 8 million are Vietnam-era. In addition, 4.6 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present); 3.2 million in World War II (1941-1945); 3.1 million in the Korean War (1950-1953); and 6.1 million in peacetime.
– About 16 million veterans served during World War II. That heroic, aging generation is dying at about 1,000 per day nationwide.
The goal for every veteran was to keep our country safe and free..
They all ultimately succeeded.
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