Editorial: Remember our veterans
Whether they fought in war or served in peacetime, veterans deserve our respect and gratitude. Today, on Veterans Day, initially called Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I, we honor those who put on the uniform in service of this great nation.
These men and women had our backs. We can never repay the debt we owe them, but we can stand with them, honor their service and sacrifice, and ensure that they experience the nation’s gratitude. One of the best ways to honor them is to know them, know who they are, know details about their service and how they plug into civil society after taking off the uniform.
On 11/11, here are 11 details you may not know about those who have served:
• The 18.2 million living U.S. veterans represent about 10 percent of the total U.S. adult population — a clear case of the few supporting the many.
• Gulf War-era veterans account for the largest share of all U.S. veterans, many of whom volunteered after 9/11 when they knew they’d likely go to war.
• The share of female veterans is expected to double to 18 percent, or 2.2 million, by 2045, and an indication that talented people — regardless of background or other factors — are volunteering to serve.
• After World War II, nearly 50 percent of veterans became entrepreneurs. Although that percentage has substantially declined, there are still more than 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses.
• Post 9/11 veterans are more likely to have been deployed, seen combat and experienced emotional trauma.
• About half of post-9/11 veterans say it was somewhat or very difficult for them to readjust to civilian life after their military service.
• Combat veterans are less likely than those who didn’t serve in combat to say they frequently felt optimistic about their future, and are more likely to say they didn’t get the respect they deserved, struggled with the lack of structure in civilian life, and felt disconnected from family or friends.
• The number of veteran suicides exceeded 6,000 each year from 2008 to 2017. In 2017, the suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-veteran adults, after adjusting for population differences in age and sex.
• Veterans make up about 11 percent of the adult homeless population in the United States.
• Veterans’ unemployment bottomed out at a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent this past April, while the lowest rate among non-veterans was 3.5 percent in June.
• U.S. veterans in their prime working years — ages 25 to 54 — are generally more likely than non-veterans to be employed, and in a free-market system such as ours that work helps power the nation.
In our view, it’s important to honor the sacrifice and say thank you to our veterans because that’s how a great nation honors the debt it owes those who had the courage to serve. And to the next generation, it signals that we will never forget, we will never take for granted, we will never fail to serve those who have served us.