Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.

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.

In effort to shed a light on the number of men and women who have served the nation, the Reporter turned to the U.S. Census Bureau.


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.

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 - Vietnam-era veterans in 2011

5.1 million - Served during the Gulf War, representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present

1.8 million - World War II, 1941-1945

2.4 million - Korean War, 1950-1953

5.4 million - Peacetime only

51,079 - Number of living veterans in 2011 who served during Vietnam and both Gulf War.

43,942 - World War II, Korean War and Vietnam

876,663 - Both Gulf War eras

205,205 - Korean War and the Vietnam era

129,972 - World War II and the Korean War

On the Job

9.1 million - Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2011.


3.5 million - Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating.


15.8 million - Veterans who voted in the 2008 presidential election. Seventy-one percent of veterans cast a ballot.?

12.4 million - Voted in the 2010 congressional election. .?