Veterans Day Facts: Origin of the Holiday

California has more U.S. military veterans than any other state in the country.

Veterans Day honors the service of United States military veterans. It's celebrated every year on Nov. 11, and coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world.

These holidays mark the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that brought forth the temporary cessation of hostilities during World War I. The armistice was signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November in 1918. World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance of Armistice Day and Nov. 11 became a national holiday starting in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day to honor those who served in all American wars. 

Here are some other facts about Veterans Day from the U.S. Census Bureau

  • There were 21.5 million military veterans in the United States in 2011. Of that number, 1.6 million were female veterans.
  • Breakdown of U.S. veterans by race in 2011: 2.3 million black; 1.2 million Hispanic; 264,695 Asian; 153,223 American Indian or Alaska Native; 27,469 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 17.2 million non-Hispanic white.
  • There were 9.2 million U.S. veterans in 2011 who were 65 and older, and 1.8 million who were younger than 35.
  • The states with 1 million or more U.S. veterans in 2011 were California (1.9 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.6 million).
  • The percent of U.S. veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor's degree in 2011 was 26.3 percent. In comparison, 28.5 percent of the total population had a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • The percent of U.S. veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2011 was 92.3 percent, compared with 86 percent of the population as a whole.
  • There were 9.1 million U.S. veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2011.

While Veterans Day celebrates all U.S. military veterans, Memorial Day, held the last Monday of May each year, remembers those who died while serving in the nation's armed forces.


John November 13, 2012 at 06:06 AM
I fail to see the importance of a breakdown by race. The only colors a veteran comes in are red white and blue!!
Jay November 13, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver. That is all that matters. Please do not bring race into the one place left were race is a non issue.


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