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5 facts for Veterans Day

U.S. military veterans wave to onlookers during a parade in Wilmington, NC, last year.

To help mark Veterans Day on Wednesday, Nov. 11, here are some things you may not have known.

1. Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, marking the first anniversary of World War I’s end. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor all those who served in American wars.

2. There are 18 million veterans in the United States. This number, based on U.S. census data from 2018, includes 1.7 million female veterans. Twelve percent of veterans are African American, 7.2 percent are Hispanic, 1.7 percent are Asian, 0.8 percent are American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.2 percent are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Approximately 50.1 percent of veterans are 65 or older, while 9.1 percent are younger than 35.

3. In four states, the number of veterans as a share of the adult population exceeds 10 percent. These states are Alaska, Montana, Virginia and Wyoming. The states with the lowest share of veterans are New York (4.5 percent), New Jersey (4.6 percent), California (5.2 percent) and Massachusetts (5.5 percent). The nation’s three most populous states have the three largest veteran populations: California (1.56 million), Texas (1.46 million) and Florida (1.44 million).

4. Veterans make up roughly 11 percent of adults who experience homelessness. This data, compiled by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, also shows that 70 of veterans experiencing homelessness also experience substance abuse, and 50 percent live with mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Postal Service released a Healing PTSD semipostal stamp last year; according to data released in July, more than 7 million stamps have been sold, raising $717,000 to fund research for PTSD.

5. The Postal Service workforce includes more than 100,000 current or former service members. USPS has been recognized as one of the nation’s top employers of veterans by Viqtory, a media and marketing company that produces magazines and websites for veterans and service members. This Veterans Day, the Postal Service is honoring employees who have served in the armed forces with a special badge and badge clip.

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