By Phil D’Amico, Director of Business Development
On November 11, we celebrated and recognized Veterans Day. This is our chance to show our appreciation and pay honor to those who currently serve and have served in all our branches of the military. It is our chance to thank all who are or were in the Military for their service as well as their undying devotion to protect the many freedoms that all of us enjoy in the greatest country, the United States of America.
I am amazed by the selflessness of so many individuals who sacrifice their life for the betterment of their country. My son served in the Air Force ROTC program and was around many of his friends who have gone on to be officers in the United States Air Force, Army and Navy. I think for the importance and context of the day, as well as the recognition, it is very important to note the history of Veterans Day.
A History of Veterans Day
- President Woodrow Wilson wanted to celebrate the one-year anniversary of, and recognize those who served in, World War I
- The day was known as Armistice Day, celebrating the heroism and dedication of those who gave their life in war serving our country
- Then U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower wanted to make sure Veterans Day was a U.S. holiday, while also recognizing those who not only served and gave their life, but those who are serving and all that were living veterans
Veterans by the Numbers
- 20 million people are considered veterans of the United States armed forces
- Currently, about 8% of all U.S. adults are veterans
- The number of veterans is significantly down from 1980, when almost 18% of all adults were classified as U.S. veterans
- 91% of all veterans are men, while women account for 9% of the veteran classification
- The expectation is that, by 2045, the percentage of women veterans is to double and be around 18%
- Today, nearly 1%, or close to 1 million of all U.S. adults, are considered active duty military personnel
- The height of the military personnel was in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam conflict, which accounted for over 3 million active military personnel
- We still have over 400,000 active World War II veterans, however, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly 50 WWII Veterans perish per day
- Nearly 50% of all veterans served in the Army, 25% Navy, 20% Air Force, 10% Marines, 1% Coast Guard
Challenges for Veterans Today
One of the persistent challenges dealing with veterans today is the unemployment rate for the men and women who return from active military service. There has been a bit of good news in this area, but it is still an area of concern and one that requires to be continually improved upon. For the post 9/11 veteran, the jobless rate is around 2% percent less than the national unemployment rate or around 5.6% and unemployment rate for veterans.
The good news is this is down from the nearly 7.8% of two years ago. One of the bright spots is that the veteran’s unemployment rate continues to drop more steadily than that of the national unemployment average. However, the number of homeless veterans continues to rise across all our U.S. cities. This veterans’ homelessness issue is of great concern to all veteran assistance centers across the U.S. Cities have created 411 phone lines for veterans to call to see what assistance and services are available for veterans in the United States.
Also, many municipal cities and towns are now housing in office veteran assistance offices for veterans to stop in as they re-enter the work force. The U.S. Department of Veteran affairs continues to increase the number of both mental and physical assistance programs through the V.A. hospital system. It is estimated that nearly 11% of those veterans that return from a conflict have PTSD. We have seen an increase in the number of mental stress issues facing veterans at a higher rate than of physical ailments.
While I know we have a national holiday to celebrate and pay honor to those who serve, or have served in the U.S. military, in my opinion, we should give thanks every day to the many who give up their lives to protect the freedoms we have. There is no greater act of courage or selflessness than for those amazing individuals to give of themselves all over the world to make this country feel safe every day.
I, and many of you, can go to bed, rest easy and sleep every night feeling safe, free and secure. We have what many other nations across the world struggle for, freedom. Our men and women who serve in the defense of this country display daily the heroism that makes this country the greatest in the world.