Sunday is Nov. 11, the date that has been officially designated as Veterans Day, the day America honors the service of the men and women who have defended our nation, its people, and oppressed people around the world who want freedom.
Because Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on Monday, Nov. 12.
We are surrounded by veterans every day. Often, we are surprised to learn persons we would never have suspected as having been in the military, are, in fact, veterans.
And yet, their numbers are relatively small.
The United States Census Bureau estimated that last year, of the almost 315 million people living in the United States, 21.5 million were veterans of the armed forces– the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.
Of the 21.5 million, 1.6 million are women. The Census Bureau estimates that 9.2 million are 65 or older. Conversely, 1.8 million are under the age of 35.
About 3.5 million have a service-related disability, ranging from an accident while in military service, to being wounded in combat. More than 810,000 are over 70% disabled.
Of those 21.5 million, 71% cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential election, the last presidential election for which figures are available.
Whether you celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday or Monday, take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service, and remember those who gave their lives for their country.