DemDaily: Service and Sacrifice: A Snapshot

November 11, 2020

Today we officially honor our veterans, past and present, for their service to our country. In honor of those who have served, and still sacrifice, a snapshot in history.

"Father of Veterans Day" Weeks presents petition to Eisenhower

Background
President Woodrow Wilson celebrated the first "Armistice Day" one year later and, in 1938, Congress declared November 11th a holiday "to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

In 1946, WW II vet Raymond Weeks led a successful drive to expand the day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in WWI.

With the support of then Army Chief of Staff, General Dwight Eisenhower, the first celebration was held in 1947, and in 1954 Congress officially changed Armistice Day to "Veterans Day."

The federal holiday honors those who have served during wartime or peace in one of the US armed forces, including the Army, Airforce, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard.

The Stats
US Population: 19.5 million living veterans in United States, representing 6.5% of the population.
Female: 2 million
Over 65 years old: 9 million

The Wars in which they Served
Vietnam: 7 million
Gulf War:  7 million
World War II: 16 million, 620,000 still alive
Korean War: 2 million
War on Terrorism: 3 million

* US Presidents: 26 of 45 served in the military.
* Members of 116th Congress: 78 in the US House and 18 in the US Senate who have served or currently serve in the military.
* States with the highest percentage of Veterans: Virginia, Wyoming, and Alaska.

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all United States military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

The Other Stats
Justice-involved Veterans: Over 180,000 veterans are incarcerated and more than half of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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Approximately 11% of the adult homeless population are veterans.
40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night.
*  9% are female. 45% of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic.
*  9% are between age 18 to 30, and 41% are 31 to 50.
*  The majority are single, live in urban areas, and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders.
*  Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era.
*  Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.

*  About 1.4 million additional veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

Say thank you to a veteran and pass this on!

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Kimberly Scott
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Sources: History.com, CNN, US Dept of Veterans Affairs, NCHV.org, NCVAS, CRS

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