Monday, November 12, 2012

A Veteran's Day Salute

A History of Veteran's Day

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - Spc. LeAnn Morgan, right, a targeting analyst with Multi-National Corps - Iraq, recites the oath of reenlistment as country singer Toby Keith, left, helps hold the flag Tuesday, May 22, 2007, at Al Faw Palace. Keith was visiting Iraq as part of a USO tour. Morgan agreed to serve three more years with the Army. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour, MNC-I Public Affairs
On November 11, American citizens around the world join in honoring the men and women who have served to protect and defend our great country. Veteran’s Day. But why do we honor our veteran’s in November and why is it always on the 11th? To answer that question we must look back to The Great War.  

The Great World began July 28, 1914 but the United States did not enter the war until April 6, 1917. In preparation the Unites States military began to construct camps throughout the country to train the new recruitments needed to join our American forces. Each camp was strategically placed so that it would meet the needs of the states surrounding it. Camps such as Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio not only served as recruitment stations but also as prisons for any prisoners of war the United States may acquire in battle overseas. Within six weeks of the United States entering the Great War, 73,000 young men and women volunteered to serve their country. President Woodrow Wilson's administration had targeted the number of men needed for the war to be 1 million. In order to acquire the necessary manpower the government enacted the draft. The Selective Service Act of 1917 repaired the defects of the draft laws that were enacted during the Civil War by making exemptions for anyone who were employed in essential occupations, had dependents who could not survive without them and who had certain religious beliefs.  

My great, great grandfather's, Dallas Benton McCardle, WWI draft registration. 
Ten million young men were registered for the draft in 1917. It was a universal draft that included blacks although black and white soldiers were in different units.

The first draft was drawn on June 5, 1917 for men between the ages of 21 - 31 years of age. The following year, the military needed more men. The Woodrow Wilson administration rose the draft age to meet the need. On June 5, 1918 a second draft was drawn for men to include any male who had obtained 21 years of age after June 5, 1917. The Spanish Flu and the War had cost many American soldiers lives. Once again the age range was raised. A third draft was drawn on September 12, 1918 for men ages 18 – 45 years of age. The Great War officially ended on November 11, 1911. 

Over 2 million American soldiers fought on the battlegrounds in France.
367,710 blacks and 2,442, 586 whites were drafted into the military.
Nearly half a million immigrants were drafted into service as well.

Honoring Service and Sacrifice
By: DebM07 @
Veteran’s Day is an American holiday that salutes the brave men and women who have fought for our country. It is not a day to remember the veterans who have died for our country. That is Memorial Day. Known as Remembrance or Armistice Day, other countries celebrate November 11th as the end of the Great World. On November 11, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed today as Armistice Day. He said "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
Armistice Day became n national holiday in May 13, 1938.

In 1945, World War II veteran, Raymond Weeks had the idea of celebrating all American veterans on Armistice Day and not just the ones who had fought in the Great War. Weeks presented his idea to General Dwight Eisenhower. The General supported Weeks proposition to have a National Veteran’s Day. Two years later, Weeks held the first Veteran’s Day celebration in Alabama. In 1954, Ed Rees, a US Representative from Kansas, presented a bill to Congress to have Veteran’s Day officially become a national holiday. The bill passed and on May 26, 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law. Congress officially changed Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day on June 1, 1954. And what about Weeks? Well he held a Veteran’s Day event in Alabama since 1947 on an annual basis. President Regan honored him with Presidential Citizenship Award at the White House in 1982 for being the driving force behind Veteran’s Day. Elizabeth Dole dubbed Weeks with the nickname “father of Veteran’s Day.” Raymond Weeks died two years later. 

World War II artilleryman James Wangen arrives at Reagan National Airport Oct. 8 to applause and greetings from Soldiers of Department of the Army G3 and the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) at Fort Belvoir, Va. The veterans were flown in as part of the Honor Flight Network, which transports veterans from across the United States to the National World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C.

According to the United States Census and Bureau of Veteran's Affairs:

9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
1.8 million veterans are women.
7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
2.6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945).
2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
6 million veterans served in peacetime.
As of 2008, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
5 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1 million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

(this information came from the History Channel and can be found at:

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