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Veterans Day 2012: A Day of Remembrance and Recognition

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November 11, 2012

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1919; that was the first Armistice Day in our nation’s history and it commemorated the first anniversary of the end of World War I. A few years later in 1926, Congress passed a resolution that called for an annual observance of that anniversary and in 1938, November 11th became a national holiday. We often confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. Both are an important part of our nation’s history, which permits us to honor those who have given service to our country, and in all too many instances, have given their lives.

Memorial is the national holiday we sit aside to honor all those who gave their lives in the service of our country, but Veterans Day is the one national holiday we have that seeks to honor all veterans, either living or dead. This day allows us to give thanks to our living veterans who served our country honorably during both war and peace time, regardless of service branch, rank, or war experience. This is a great day to thank those who stepped up and gave in some candid cases, many years of their lives, to protect our nation and its citizens. We still celebrate it on the day the First World War Armistice was signed, which is November 11th, but we honor all veterans in our country living or dead.

Currently, there are approximately 23 million military veterans in the United States. There are a little over 9 million veterans over the age 65. Almost 2 million veterans are under the age 35. And almost 2 million veterans were women. Seven point eight million veterans served during the Vietnam War era. That represents about a third of all living veterans. There are also 5.2 million veterans who have provided service during the Gulf War era (August 2, 1990–Present). We only have 2.6 million veterans out of approximately 16 million left who served during World War II. And we have 2.8 million veterans to thank, who provided service during the Korean War. Finally, let’s not forget we’ve got 6 million veterans alive today who gave years of their lives in the service of their country during peacetime.

We owe all of them, folks, for the freedom we enjoy, and all too often, take for granted. Veterans make a difference. Veterans sacrifice for their fellow men and women and, yes, many veterans are members of our extended family. We are proud to count many of our members and their families amongst AARC’s heroes. Given the fact that there are over 23 million veterans out there, you won’t have a problem finding at least one to say thank you to on November 11th. And if you can, shoot for 11 am. You see, that’s when that very first Armistice Day, which was the forerunner of our Veterans Day was observed. On behalf of the AARC, thank all of our veterans for their service. You are our heroes.