America celebrated its first Veterans Day on Nov.11, 1918

November 11th is Veterans Day, the day our nation honors its Veterans of the armed forces. The Defense Department and the Veterans Administration report our nation salutes just over 18 million Americans who served in uniform. That’s roughly 7% percent of our fellow Americans. Historically, some 9% of Veterans are women while the balance is men.

Florida, Texas, and California are home to more that a million Veterans each and are the three states with the largest Veterans populations.

America celebrated its first Veterans Day on Nov.11, 1918. Back then it was known simply as Armistice Day and signified the end of World War 1. That war was to be the “War to End All Wars.” Unfortunately, the world has seen many more wars since World War I ended.

World War 2,  the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan followed. More will follow. So, America pauses to honor those who served in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force,  Space Force, and Coast Guard. America also honors members of the National Guard and Reserves on this day.

In 2019 the Department of Defense helped Americans celebrate its Veterans by supporting requests from many states, counties, and cites for military aircraft flyovers and equipment displays. Military members marched in parades, spoke at community events, and were on duty around the globe.

States, counties, and cities marked Veterans Day 2019 with parades. They dedicated memorials and monuments  to honor Veterans and held special community gatherings. Military museums shared our military Veterans’ history. Proclamations and resolutions  of special honors were presented  for those Veterans who served with valor or distinguished service. These tributes were very special.

This year is our first Veterans Day in the COVID-19 world. Hopefully 2020 will also be the last Veterans Day impacted by this horrible pandemic. Our aging Veterans of the Korean, Vietnam, and Cold War era have been hard hit by COVID-19 like many other older Americans.

This year honors will still be rendered across the nation for our Veterans. Depending on the state you live in, parades, civic events, flyovers, and special  salutes will abound. Your local media will have listings of events and features about how we can honor Veterans in this COVID-19 time period. Social distancing, face masks, and limited-size gatherings are likely to be required, so please celebrate safely.

Many restaurants offer Veterans a free meal on Veterans Day.  States that allow indoor dining and those that don’t are available online.  Many retailers  have special discounts for Veterans on purchases, and many new car dealers offer Veterans special incentives or discounts on Veterans Day. Some parks also offer Veterans free admission on Veterans Day . These are just a few of the ways Americans thank all those who served.

As a Veteran myself, I appreciate the outpouring of thanks from fellow Americans. This year if you know a Veteran a simple thanks is enough. Parades and plaques are nice but a simple thank you  goes a long way.

While I cannot speak for my fellow Veterans or their families, I know many Veterans who are humbled by the gratitude so many show for those who served in Active duty, Guard, and/or Reserve branches of our nations military.

It hasn’t always been parades, free meals, discounts, proclamations, resolutions, or honors for those who served.

America is a great country and a free country, in large part, because men and women have defended our ideals and promises around the world and here at home.

God bless our Veterans, military, and this great nation on this and every Veterans Day.


Image Sources

  • Thank You Veterans: Shutterstock