Opinion

Lots of opportunities to celebrate Americas veterans

Veterans Day, which will be celebrated on Nov. 11, is an opportunity for Americans to recognize and honor those who have served in our Armed Forces.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day has evolved into also honoring living military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation.
The Census Bureau also offers the following information about Americas veterans:
There were 24.5 million military veterans in the United States in 2004, of which 1.7 million were female veterans. Sixteen percent Persian Gulf veterans in 2004 were women.
There were 2.4 million black veterans in 2005. Additionally, 1.1 million veterans are Hispanic, 293,000 are Asian, 170,000 are American Indian or Alaska native and 28,000 are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
In 2004 there were 9.5 million veterans who were 65 years of age or older. There were 8.1 million Vietnam-era veterans in 2004. Thirty-three percent of all veterans served in Vietnam. There were 3.9 million World War II veterans in 2004. Sixteen percent of all veterans served during WWII. And there were 412,000 living veterans in 2005 who served during both the Vietnam and Gulf wars. Other living veterans in 2005 who served in two or more wars include 343,000 who served during both the Korean and Vietnam wars; 80,000 served during three periods WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War; and 306,000 served in WWII and the Korean War.
There are six states with more than 1 million veterans including California (2.3 million), Florida (1.8 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1.2 million), Pennsylvania (1.1 million) and Ohio (1.1 million).
In the 2001-2002 school year there were 1.1 million veterans enrolled in college. Twenty-five percent of veterans 25 years and over have at least a bachelors degree in 2005. Eighty-nine percent of veterans 25 years an over have at least a high school diploma.
The annual median income of veterans, in 2005 inflation-adjusted dollars, is $33,973. As of 2005, the poverty rate for veterans was 5.8 percent. And, in 2005, there were 11.3 million veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force. Fourteen percent of business owners, as of 2002, were veterans. Seventy-three percent of these veteran owners operated with no paid employees. Seven percent of veteran business owners are disabled as a result of injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.
Approximately $22.4 billion is the aggregate amount received in fiscal year 2004 by the 2.5 million living veterans receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities. The total amount of federal government spending for veterans benefits programs in fiscal year 2004 was $59.6 billion.
While these facts and figures may be interesting, the simple fact is that veterans are our parents, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our friends and co-workers, and our neighbors. Veterans Day is about honoring them and their service to our country.
Throughout our communities, there are a number of events scheduled in observance of Veterans Day to honor those who have served.
The city of Arlingtons Veterans Day Parade is set for Nov. 11, starting at 11 a.m. Veterans are encouraged to march in the parade. Lunch will follow at the Arlington American Legion at 12:30 p.m. Veterans can dine for free and members of the public can dine for $5.
In the days leading up to Veterans Day, many local schools will be holding events to honor Americas military members. Many of these school events are open to the community and veterans and non-veterans alike are invited to attend.

To contact a member of The Marysville Globe/Arlington Times editorial board Kris Passey, Scott Frank or Margi Hartnett e-mail forum@premier1.net.

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