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Understanding who are today’s veterans

LatinaLista — For some people, the first realization that today was Veteran’s Day may have been when they went to the post office and found it closed, or tried to cash a check and discovered it was dark at their bank or getting caught up in a traffic jam due to a local Veteran’s Day parade.


Yet, when it comes to veterans and the military, most people just don’t know that much. Thank to a special feature of the U.S. Census, we all now can know more about our veterans, and in turn, be a little more appreciative of the service they are performing on behalf of our country.

According to the U.S. Census’ most current figures:

There are 21.9 million military veterans in the United States in 2009.

There are 1.5 million female veterans in 2009.

Broken down by race/ethnicity:
2.3 million black veterans; 1.1 million Hispanic veterans; 258,000 were Asian; 153,000 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 30,000 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 17.7 million were non-Hispanic white.

California, Florida and Texas are the three main states with populations of one million or more veterans.

26 percent of veterans 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree in 2009. In comparison, 28 percent of the total population have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

92 percent of veterans 25 and older have a high school diploma or higher in 2009, compared with 85 percent of the population as a whole.

5.5 million veterans have a disability in 2009.


9 percent of all U.S. firms are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised an estimated 2.4 million of the 27.1 million nonfarm businesses operating in the U.S. in 2007.

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 honors living military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

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