Note from Norm: Thank A Veteran
In 1954 the 83rd Congress amended the nation’s existing “Armistice Day” holiday and changed it to “Veterans Day”.
On June 1, 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation making Veterans Day a national holiday.
Sixty-three years later, this Saturday, November 11th, America celebrates, recognizes and honors its veterans.
As of 2016 there were an estimated 18.8 million American veterans.
In honoring those who have served America I think it is important to know just who makes up the 18.5 million Americans who have served our nation so that we may enjoy the freedom and liberty we have today.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau:
- 1.6 million veterans are women
- 11.6% are black
- 6.5% are Hispanic
- 9.2 million are 65 or older
- 1.6 million are younger than 35 years old
- 4 million have a service connected disability
- 6.7 million were Vietnam Era veterans
- 7.1 million who served during the Gulf War
- 768,263 who served during World War II
- 1.6 million who served during the Korean War
- 66,652 served during the Vietnam Era and both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
- 25,703 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
- 1,150,328 served during both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later)
- 285,649 served during the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001) and the Vietnam Era.
- 140,101 served during the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
- 56,105 served during World War II and the Korean War.
In 2015 the Veterans Administration estimated there were nearly 42 million Americans who have served during times of war in our nation’s history.
For more fascinating information about Veterans in America I invite you to review this document from the Veteran’s Administration: https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_americas_wars.pdf
My Dad was a Veteran. He served during two of America’s Wars – World War I and World War II.
His stories of valor and the horror of war remain with me today and remind me of the sacrifice of so many who have stood, fought and died for America.
Yet, Veteran’s Day is not Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is for those American men and women who have given their lives in the defense of our nation.
Veterans Day is for us to give thanks and honor to those who have served in our nation’s military.
Somewhere in your community, or a community near you, there will be an opportunity for you to gather with friends, family and neighbors and give thanks to the millions of men and women who made a difference in protecting this great nation and its freedom and liberty.
There will be parades, and speeches and services that will honor those who, given the opportunity to serve, willingly raised their hands and did so.
There will be those who, as well, who were drafted into their service during times of war and gave of themselves to serve America.
Every Veteran in America deserves our thanks.
From those on the front lines to those who supplied them, lead them, ministered to them and healed them, every Veteran has played a role in fundamentally ensuring our very existence as a nation.
The popularity, or lack of it, of any war or conflict in which an American Veteran has served is not a reflection of their service.
Nor is the lack of a war or a conflict make one’s service less impactful or compelling.
America simply will not remain free and the greatest country on Earth without those willing to raise their hands and answer the call to military service.
This Saturday, November 11th is our opportunity to give thanks to those who have answered that call.
Find a moment and a place to recognize that service.
Perhaps it is your own service, or that of a family or friend, or a business colleague or employee – maybe even a stranger – that you choose to recognize.
Take that moment and find that place to recognize that service.
Remember that to be that America, “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’, doesn’t exist because we wish it to be so.
It exists because our nation’s veterans have fought and served to make it so.