|Saturday, November 11, is Veterans Day. To show respect for this annual federal observance, veteran members of the American Legion and Sons of the American Legion organizations in Westcliffe are installing up to 50 U.S. Flags along Main Street.
According to Legion Post 170 public affairs officer Bob Dreher, “This is our visible reminder to remember and respect those among us who have stepped up to serve in the U.S. military. Additionally, President Trump has proclaimed the entire month of November 2017 as National Veterans and Military Families Month.”
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. The name Armistice Day was then changed to Veterans Day. This special day has been observed every year since 1919.
During the American Revolution at least 15 percent of the overall population is estimated to have served in either the Continental Army or state militias actively to fight against the King's tyranny. During WWI more than 4.7 million Americans served in the military. Those who served represented 4.6 percent of the U.S. population. WWI U.S. losses were 116,516 deaths and approximately 320,000 sick and wounded.
Today, approximately 1.4 million people are serving in the U.S. armed forces, according to the latest numbers from the Defense Manpower Data Center. That means that only 0.4 percent of the American population is active military personnel defending our country, Constitution and worldwide U.S. interests. The VA estimates that approximately 23 million or 7.3 percent of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives.
“Let’s all remember this Veterans Day that every person who enters the United States military swears a solemn oath to support and defend our Constitution and our Country against all enemies both foreign and domestic and to obey the orders of the President and their officers,” said Dreher. “A Veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to and including their life. This applies to all; from a combat soldier to a cook or clerk; whether enlisted or an officer; male or female. Every Veteran has earned special honors.”