Here's a rundown of Veterans Day 2012 facts from the U.S. Census Bureau:
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
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Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars.
The day honors military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Who They Are
21.5 million: The number of military veterans in the United States in 2011.
1.6 million: The number of female veterans in 2011.
2.3 million: The number of black veterans in 2011. Additionally, 1.2 million veterans were Hispanic; 264,695 were Asian; 153,223 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 27,469 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 17.2 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)
9.2 million: The number of veterans 65 and older in 2011. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.8 million were younger than 35.
When They Served
7.5 million: Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2011: 5.1 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present); 1.8 million in World War II (1941-1945); 2.4 million in the Korean War (1950-1953); and 5.4 million in peacetime only.
51,079: Number of living veterans in 2011 who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period. Other living veterans in 2011 who served during three wars:
- 43,942 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
Living veterans in 2011 who served during two wars and no other period:
- 876,663 served during both Gulf War eras.
- 205,205 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
- 129,972 served during both World War II and the Korean War.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey