Veterans Day: The Courage to Serve
November 11 is an opportunity to pause and say thank you to veterans for their courage to serve. Originally called Armistice Day, named after the armistice treaty signed on November 11, 1918 effectively ending the Great War, World War I.
On November 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day was celebrated in Britain, its Commonwealth countries, the United States and other Allied nations - honoring those killed in the Great War.
Just over 20 years later the world would be embroiled in another war, World War II, another war that would cost the lives of millions worldwide.
In 1954, the U.S. renamed the holiday Veterans Day to honor all military members from all conflicts both living and dead.
The red poppy became a symbol of remembrance among allied countries after Col. John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery, wrote a poem expressing his grief over the rows and rows of poppies among the graves of soldiers who had died on Flanders' battlefields during World War I. Today, veterans organizations around the U.S. distribute poppies as a tribute to those who gave their lives in service of our country.
TOTAL U.S. SERVICE MEMBERS BY WAR (WORLDWIDE)
WW I 1917-1918: 4,734,991
WW II 1941-1945: 16,112,566
Korean War 1950-1953: 5,720,000
Vietnam War 1964-1975: 8,744,000
Gulf War 1990-1991: 2,322,000
Global War on Terror 2001-Present: 1,425,113
• More than 22 million veterans have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
• Approximately 2.1 million veterans in the state of California, more than any other U.S. state.
• 1930: year the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs was created.
• More than 2.2 million World War II veterans went to college on the G.I. Bill.
• More than one million veterans are currently receiving education benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
• More than 1,000 hospitals and medical centers the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs operate worldwide.