Veteran’s Day is a day of reflection on the incredible dedication, courage and honor that Americans, both living and deceased, have demonstrated in order to preserve the nation’s independence and safety. Their loyalty to our nation is unmatched and it is important to honor Veterans not only today, but every day.
These brave men and women are parents, children and grandparents. They are friends, neighbors and coworkers. You pass them every day as you walk through life. They are an important part of your community. These dedicated individuals have sacrificed time away from their families. They have missed holidays, birthdays and meaningful events with their loved ones. Their families have made huge sacrifices so they may serve their country. Their strength also needs to be remembered and honored.
My Dad, Russell Long, was a 19-year-old in college when he was called up for duty for the Navy in WWII. He was from the Midwest and had never ever seen the ocean, let alone been on a ship. Within a few months of leaving his college campus, he was a naval officer (Lt. JG) in the well-known battle of Iwo Jima. (Remember the famous flag raising during this battle?) He was the 3rd highest ranking officer on the LSM ship but still 19 years old. We owe these men and women Veterans a lot!
Here are some facts about the current veteran population of the United States.
- 9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
- 1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
- 1.8 million veterans are women.
- 7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
- 5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
- 2.6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945).
- 2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
- 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
- As of 2008, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
- 5 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1 million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
- The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.
U.S. Census Bureau and United States Department of Veterans Affairs