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The History Of Veterans Day And Our Veterans

Written by
Tina Williamson
Published on
September 21, 2020 7:31:00 PM PDT September 21, 2020 7:31:00 PM PDTst, September 21, 2020 7:31:00 PM PDT

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans every November 11. The day, originally known as Armistice Day, was first observed in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson to observe the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I. Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954, with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s approval, after U.S. veteran organizations requested the name change.


In the United States, a veteran is any person who has served full-time in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard. Reserve and National Guard members who have been called to active duty are also considered veterans. The first U.S. veterans served during the American Revolution. Since then, 41 million Americans have served in 11 declared wars and various conflicts throughout the world.


An estimated 18,611,432 veterans make up around 6% of the total U.S. population of 328,239,523. The five states that have the highest veteran populations are California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York. The five states that have the lowest veteran populations are South Dakota, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont (see each state’s veteran population in the list below, from highest to lowest).


Other interesting facts about today’s veterans are:

  • Fewer than 500,000 World War II veterans are alive today compared to 5.7 million in 2000
  • The largest group of veterans alive today (6.4 million) served during the Vietnam Era (1964-1975)
  • The second-largest group of veterans alive today (4 million) served during peacetime
  • The median age of veterans is currently 65 years old with post 9/11 veterans being the youngest (around 37 years old), Vietnam Era veterans in the middle (around 71 years old) and the World War II veterans being the oldest (around 93 years old)
  • Women make up about 9 percent of veterans (around 1.7 million)
  • Around one-quarter of all veterans have a service-connected disability which can include an injury, disease or disability that active duty caused or aggravated
  • Post-9/11 and Gulf War veterans have the highest percentage of service-connected disabilities


This Veterans Day, let us all recognize the service of our veterans and show appreciation for the sacrifices they made for the country. As communities across America prepare to observe Veterans Day, start to think of ways you can show your respect for veterans. Some ideas include:

  • Fly your American flag, along with your POW/MIA flag if you have one, at full staff from sunrise to sunset
  • Fly a military flag honoring a family member or friend who served
  • Decorate graves of deceased veterans with cemetery flags, grave markers, patriotic wreaths or flowers
  • Send a care package overseas to active service members or to your local VA hospital
  • Donate to a non-profit that supports veterans and their families
  • Contact your local VA or VFW to find out if local veterans need assistance with yard work or grocery delivery
  • Visit a local museum, memorial or battlefield site to learn more about our U.S. veteran history


For assistance determining your Veterans Day product needs, you may contact our Customer Care Professionals at 800-628-3524, online or send us your product needs by email or through our Contact Our Team online form.

 

Veteran Population By State (highest to lowest)

  1. California: 1,618,861
  2. Texas: 1,474,232
  3. Florida: 1,452,967
  4. Pennsylvania: 782,682
  5. New York: 730,557
  6. Ohio: 729,649
  7. Virginia: 684,480
  8. North Carolina: 667,696
  9. Georgia: 636,725
  10. Illinois: 595,185
  11. Michigan: 564,783
  12. Washington: 537,713
  13. Arizona: 487,684
  14. Tennessee: 435,040
  15. Missouri: 413,189
  16. Indiana: 390,220
  17. Colorado: 375,746
  18. Maryland: 372,462
  19. South Carolina: 366,862
  20. Wisconsin: 342,796
  21. Alabama: 335,599
  22. New Jersey: 333,835
  23. Massachusetts: 315,859
  24. Minnesota: 310,097
  25. Oregon: 288,540
  26. Oklahoma: 273,677
  27. Kentucky: 273,675
  28. Louisiana: 250,497
  29. Nevada: 208,731
  30. Arkansas: 202,572
  31. Iowa: 188,867
  32. Kansas: 181,453
  33. Connecticut: 173,998
  34. Mississippi: 168,996
  35. New Mexico: 148,264
  36. West Virginia: 134,508
  37. Utah: 123,339
  38. Nebraska: 120,290
  39. Idaho: 115,045
  40. Maine: 107,091
  41. Hawaii: 105,563
  42. New Hampshire: 97,644
  43. Montana: 85,480
  44. Alaska: 67,452
  45. Delaware: 66,590
  46. South Dakota: 59,243
  47. Rhode Island: 57,524
  48. North Dakota: 46,524
  49. Wyoming: 45,389
  50. Vermont: 38,625

 

Sources: The United Census Bureau, the 2018 American Community Survey Reports and wikipedia.org