Veterans Day 2017
From the Census:
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary marking 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 military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation and a remembrance ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The ceremony honors and thanks all who served in the U.S. armed forces.
In 2016, 7% of U.S. adults were veterans, down from 18% in 1980, according to the Census Bureau. This drop coincides with decreases in active duty personnel. Over the past half-century, the number of people on active duty has dropped significantly, from 3.5 million in 1968, during the draft era, to 1.3 million (or less than 1% of all U.S. adults) in today’s all-volunteer force. The military draft ended in 1973.
As the share of Americans who are veterans has declined, so has the share of Congress members who have previously served in the military. In the current Congress, 20% of senators and 19% of representatives had prior military service, down drastically from just a few decades ago. The share of senators who are veterans reached a post-Korean War peak of 81% in 1975, while the share among House members peaked in 1967 at 75%. However, there are signs more veterans could run for office in the future.
While the public expresses favorable views of many federal agencies, the VA received the lowest rating among 10 agencies and departments in a Pew Research Center survey earlier this year. Roughly half of U.S. adults (49%) had a favorable view of the VA and 34% expressed an unfavorable view. As with all the agencies and departments in the survey, there were partisan differences. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents expressed lower favorability for the VA (40%) than Democrats and Democratic leaners (60%).