Veterans Day 2019 — Monday, Nov. 11. While Memorial Day is the day we honor veterans who died in service of the nation or as a result of injuries suffered in battle, Veterans Day is the day we honor all veterans — living and dead — who have served in the military, but especially our living veterans.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2016 there were about 20.4 million veterans in America.
The number of World War II veterans is decreasing rapidly, but the DVA estimated about 771,000 of them in 2016. Veterans of the Korean War are also aging, with estimates of about 1.6 million veterans of that war. There were an estimated 6.8 million veterans who served in Vietnam and about 7.1 million who served in the Gulf War era (1990 to present) with some serving in both Vietnam and the Gulf.
According to this report, the percentage of the American population serving in the military is declining. In 2016, only 7 percent of U.S. adults were veterans, compared to 18 percent in 1980. The number of people on active duty also has dropped from 3.5 million in 1968 to 1.3 million in 2016.
In 2016, 91 percent of veterans were men, and 9 percent were women. But the VA expects the number of female veterans to double to about 18 percent by 2045. The VA also expects the military will become more racially and ethnically diverse.
Of course, we celebrate Veterans Day to remember the armistice in World War 1 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month ending the Great War.
The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on June 4, 1926 setting Nov. 11 aside as “a day of thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”
Armistice Day became a legal federal holiday in an act approved May 13, 1938, but Armistice Day became Veterans Day when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation June 1, 1954.
We all can celebrate the service of our local veterans next Monday. Lassen Community College hosts its 8th annual free Veterans Day Breakfast for veterans and their families from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at Monsignor Hall.
The annual Veterans Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. at the Lassen County Fairgrounds, and the procession ends at the Veterans Memorial Hall. Main Street will be closed.
Following the parade, a Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at the Veterans Memorial Hall, followed by a free lunch for the entire community downstairs. According to the VFW, Port of Subs donated the sandwiches and Walmart donated the chips and sodas.
Out in Doyle, the Doyle Seniors host a South Lassen County Veterans Luncheon from noon to 5 p.m. at the Doyle Community Center.
We should all remember these brave men and women who served our nation and answered when the country called, some risking their lives in combat following the nation’s orders.
I offer my heartfelt thanks, respect and appreciation to all veterans for their service, especially those of my generation who served honorably in an unpopular war and never received the hero’s welcome they deserved from their countrymen upon their return.
I hope you’ll join me in remembering and honoring them next Monday.