Veteran’s Day is the day we honor and celebrate our heroes, the military men and women who put their lives on the line to protect Americans and our way of life. This day began a long time ago, after World War I.
By November 1918, both sides in the First World War had been fighting for four years. The British, French, and U.S. soldiers had been pushing back the Germans. Americans were able to send in fresh troops, and Germany was beginning to lose the war.
Germany asked for an armistice, which is an agreement to end the war without saying that one side won or lost. On November 11, the war ended. For the first time in years, the sound of mortars and gunfire ceased. This happened at the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month and is why we all take a moment of silence at this time each year.
One year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day. In 1926, it became a permanent legal holiday. Great Britain, France, Australia, and Canada also celebrate this day on or near November 11.
Armistice Day celebrates the end of World War I and those who fought during it. In the U.S., President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veteran’s Day in 1954 to honor all veterans from all conflicts.
Today, Americans honor their heroes by holding parades, hoisting the U.S. flag outside their homes, getting together with families, and visiting deceased loved ones at cemeteries.
- 2 million living veterans served during at least one war since 2018.
- 9% of veterans are women.
- Seven million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
- Three million veterans have served in the War on Terrorism.
- Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, just under 500,000 were still alive in 2018.
- Two million veterans served during the Korean War.
- As of 2017, Alaska, Maine, and Montana had the highest percentage of Veterans.
- In 2018, Connecticut was home to the highest percentage of World War II veterans at 7.1%.