Veterans Day is celebrated every Nov. 11 in the United States in honor of the patriotism of the nation’s military veterans. Everyone knows it as a national holiday, but there are some things about Veterans Day that only a few people know.
Here are some lesser-known but interesting facts about Veterans Day.
1. It was originally called “Armistice Day.”
Veterans Day originated on Nov. 11, 1919, to commemorate the first anniversary of the end of World War I, also known as the Great War.
2. It officially became a national holiday in 1938.
In 1926, the American Congress passed a resolution to make it an annual event. It was only in 1938 that the date became officially a national holiday.
3. Veterans Day is not just for dead veterans.
Veterans Day is different from Memorial Day in the sense that the former also honors living veterans. Most celebrations, however, mainly focus on commemorating the late veterans.
4. It is not only observed in the United States.
Canada, Australia, Belgium, France and Great Britain also honor their veterans on or near the same date as the U.S. Canadians celebrate “Remembrance Day,” while the British people have “Remembrance Sunday” every second Sunday of November.
5. 400,000+ military men are remembered at exactly 11 am in Arlington.
Arlington National Cemetery is home to the graves of more than 400,000 people who served in the military. They are honored every Veterans Day through a memorial service at exactly 11 am, the time of the WWI armistice signing.
6. 167,000 WWII veterans still live.
Around 16 million Americans offered service during World War II. Out of this number, about 167,000 are still alive today.
7. The National WWII Museum has a $400 million capital campaign.
The museum holds exhibits and oral history events, along with a well-funded capital campaign to recognize the sacrifice of the war generation.
8. The date was once moved to the 4th Monday of October.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Act, moving Veterans Day to every fourth Monday of October. The Act took effect in 1971, but the holiday was moved back to November 11 in 1975 after President Gerald Ford signed a law.
9. There is also a National Atomic Veterans Day.
July 16, 1983, was designated by President Ronald Reagan as a one-time commemoration of military service members who joined the 1945-1962 nuclear tests, served with forces, or were held as prisoners in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
10. It recently became an official annual commemoration.
The National Atomic Veterans Day was again celebrated on July 16, 2021, after President Joe Biden signed a law to annually commemorate veterans who were exposed to high levels of radiation during their service, causing serious medical complications.
11. 7.8 million veterans served during the Gulf War era.
12. The Veterans Day National Committee meets three times a year.
Since 1954, there has been a committee in charge of planning for the holiday. They meet three times a year in Washington, D.C., to talk about the preparations.
13. It is “Veterans Day,” not “Veteran’s Day.”
The missing apostrophe is by no means a grammatical mishap. As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs explains it, “Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an ‘s’ at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”
14. 5.9 million veterans served in the Vietnam War.
15. Deceased K9 fellows are also honored.
National K9 Veterans Day is observed annually on March 13 as a tribute to deceased military and working dogs throughout history.
16. 933,000 veterans fought and served during the Korean War.
17. 77% of veterans in 2016 served during wartime.
The remaining 23% only served during peacetime, according to the Pew Research Center.
18. In the coming years, the U.S. veteran population is expected to be more diverse in terms of race and ethnicity.
19. Americans believe that veterans’ services are important.
A study conducted in March 2019 revealed that 72% of U.S. adults said that if they were in charge of the federal budget, they would allot a higher budget for veterans’ benefits and services.
20. Research claims that the number of female veterans will reach 18% by 2045.
21. The number of U.S. Citizens with military experience is decreasing.
Based on the reports of the Census Bureau, about 7% of U.S. adults in 2018 were veterans; whereas, in 1980, 18% of the population were veterans.
22. The military draft era ended in 1973.
This is seen as one of the reasons for the declining number of veterans in the United States.
23. More than 2 million women veterans reside in the U.S. as of May 2022.
24. Veterans and active service members qualify for different freebies, deals and discounts.
Businesses traditionally offer free meals and gifts to eligible veterans during November, especially on Veterans Day. Discounts are also given to them in restaurants, goods, services and events.
25. Alaska, Virginia and Montana have the highest veterans percentage as of 2022.
26. There is no standard rule regarding whether schools must be closed on Veterans Day.
While some schools close on the holiday, it depends on the school boards and officials whether or not to hold classes on Nov. 11.
27. There is a National Native American Veterans Memorial.
It was unveiled by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., on Veterans Day in 2020.
28. Sheldon Adelson is the richest living American veteran.
With a net worth of $35.5 billion, Sheldon Adelson is among the top billionaire veterans. After serving in the army for three years, he and his brother sold packaged hotel toiletries. Now he is in the casino business.