Happy Veterans Day! It’s been a rough week for our country, but despite the political divisiveness we’ve been enduring, I think we can all agree on our love for this nation and our desire for healing. I love that Veterans Day comes just after the election season, because it gives us a reason to set aside our differences and celebrate those who have made our country what it is today.
I had planned on honoring the holiday with a day off of posting, but as I was thinking ahead to this day, I realized I knew almost nothing about the origins of Veterans Day or even about our current veterans. I thought that some of you might be a bit fuzzy on your Veterans Day knowledge as well, so I decided that instead of taking a break, we should recognize the day with a brief history lesson and some Veterans Day trivia. And so, here are some interesting facts I learned in reading up on Veterans Day.
- Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance of the day in 1926, and November 11 became a national holiday in 1938.
- Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day and was first celebrated on on November 11, 1919—the first anniversary of the end of World War 1.
- In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I.
- In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
- There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States.
- 9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65 and 1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
- Approximately 8% of US veterans are women.
- California has 2.1 million US veterans among their population, more than any other state.
- As of 2008, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
- The median income for veterans in 2009 was approximately $35,000 a year.
- Veterans Day is often confused with Memorial Day; however, Memorial Day is meant to honor those who died while serving in the military while Veterans Day honors all who have served in the US Military, both alive and decided.
- Britain, France, Australia, and Canada also commemorate the veterans of both World Wars on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain celebrates Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November. In these other countries, it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.
- The word veteran comes from the nomenclature of the old English language, meaning old, experienced soldier. The word first came to use in the English language in 1789, and was used to refer to a former member of the armed forces or an ex-serviceman.
- The holiday is commonly misprinted as Veteran’s Day, but the United States Department of Veterans Affairs site states that the official spelling should not have an apostrophe “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”
Thanks for joining me in learning more about this important national holiday. And an enormous, heartfelt thank you to all of the veterans who have served our country. We are thankful for you and for your service.