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Happy Veteran’s Day 2008

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vetsday08-medHappy Veteran’s Day 2008. Most government workers are off today, which always makes it a bit odd to be working at a publication or radio station that covers… the government.

One of the things I’ve been proud of in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that we, as a society, have evolved and learned from our mistakes. During the Vietnam War era, we treated our soldiers horribly. Some people got so caught up in their opposition to the war… that they forgot that the soldiers were doing what they were told to do — and, in the end, that is the only way we would want it. They perform with courage and they are doing the work that I would not want to do. So for that, I thank all of them.

So… some Veterans Day resources…

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a whole page dedicated to Veterans Day, as you might imagine… including the poster here, and ones from previous years.

Arlington National Cemetery has a Web site, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

You could visit the Vietnam War memorial… the Korean War memorial… the WW II memorial

And the Census looks at Veterans by the numbers:

Veterans Day 2008: Nov. 11

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 has evolved into also honoring 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.

23.6 million
The number of military veterans in the United States in 2007.
Source: Table 502, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009 Female Veterans

1.8 million
The number of female veterans in 2007.
Source: Source: Table 502, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

16%
Percentage of Gulf War veterans in 2007 who were women.
Source: Table 503, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009 Race and Hispanic Origin

2.4 million
The number of black veterans in 2007. Additionally, 1.1 million veterans were Hispanic; 278,000 were Asian; 165,000 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 27,000 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 18.7 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)
Source: 2007 American Community Survey When They Served

9.3 million
The number of veterans 65 and older in 2007. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.9 million were younger than 35.
Source: Table 503, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

7.9 million
Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2007. Thirty-three percent of all living veterans served during this time (1964-1975). In addition, 5 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present); 2.9 million in World War II (1941-1945); 3 million in the Korean War (1950-1953); and 6.1 million in peacetime.
Source: Table 503, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

358,000
In 2007, number of living veterans who served during both the Vietnam and Gulf War eras.

Other living veterans in 2007 who served during two or more wars:
315,000 served during both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
69,000 served during three periods: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
263,000 served during World War II and the Korean War. Source: 2007 American Community Survey
Where They Live

More stats from the Census after the break.

As promised, more veteran stats from the Census Department.

5
Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2007. These states are California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million),
New York (1.1 million) and Pennsylvania (1.1 million).
Source: Table 502, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009 Education

25%
Percent of veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree in 2007.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

90%
Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2007.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey Income and Poverty

$36,053
Annual median income of veterans, in 2007 inflation-adjusted dollars.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

5.7%
Percentage of veterans living in poverty, as of 2007. The corresponding rate for nonveterans was 12 percent.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey On the Job

10.7 million
Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2007.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

$32,217
Earnings for women veterans, higher than the $27,272 for women civilians with no military experience.
Source: Exploring the Veteran-Nonveteran Earning Differential in the 2005 American Community Survey

$42,128
Earnings for male veterans, higher than the $39,880 for nonveterans.
Source: 2006 Exploring the Veteran-Nonveteran Earning Differential in the 2005 American Community Survey

Women veterans were more likely to work 35 or more hours per week (84.3 percent vs. 77.6 percent), to work at least 50 weeks per year
(73.1 percent vs. 71.6 percent) and to work in public administration (16 percent vs. 4.8 percent) than nonveterans.
Source: Exploring the Veteran-Nonveteran Earning Differential in the 2005 American Community Survey

Disabilities

6 million
Number of veterans with a disability.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

Voting

17.4 million
Number of veterans who voted in the 2004 presidential election. Seventy-four percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 63 percent of nonveterans.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004

14 million
Number of veterans who voted in the 2006 congressional election. Sixty-one percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 46 percent of nonveterans.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004

Business Owners

14.5%
Percentage of owners of firms responding to the 2002 Survey of Business Owners who were veterans. Veteran business owners comprised an estimated 3 million of the 20.5 million owners represented by survey respondents.
Source: Characteristics of Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002

68%
Percentage of veteran owners of respondent firms who were 55 and older. This compares with 31 percent of all owners of respondent firms. Similarly, in 2002, 55 percent of veteran-owned respondent firms with employees reported that their businesses were originally established, purchased or acquired before 1990, compared with 36 percent of all employer respondent firms.
Source: Characteristics Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002

7%
Percentage of veteran business owners of respondent firms who were disabled as the result of injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.
Source: Characteristics Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002

Benefits

2.7 million
Number of veterans who received compensation for service-connected disabilities as of 2006. Their compensation totaled $28.2 billion.
Source: Tables 505 and 506, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

$72.8 billion
Total amount of federal government spending for veterans benefits programs in fiscal year 2006. Of this total, $34.6 billion went to compensation and pensions, $33.7 billion for medical programs and the remainder to other programs, such as vocational rehabilitation and education.
Source: Table 505, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

Happy Veterans Day

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Written by cdorobek

November 11, 2008 at 8:21 AM

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4 Responses

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  1. Thanks for sharing Chris, great info and interesting stats. And thanks to our Vets and active military who serve so we can all enjoy the privileges this great country has to offer.

    dslunceford

    November 11, 2008 at 8:44 AM

  2. On the 11th Day of the 11th month each year, Americans come together to honor those in uniform, the ones who sacrificed for our nation, on Veterans Day. As a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan, War on Terror, I urge everyone to take this day to not just thank a veteran, but to talk with veterans. Learn about how our experiences have shaped our lives and what issues we face as we make our transitions back to civilian life. I would like to explain my side of the story, my own experience.

    When I joined the military I was a young, confused kid, who did not know much about life, due to being sheltered for most of my life by my over protective parents. I did not know much about the war, just that I was enraged at the hatred those terrorists had for all Americans and me. I wanted to help my country, to protect it at all cost, even giving up my life to do so. It may sound funny but when I initially tried to enlist in the military, I was to be a military post-man, but the job had already been taken. Since I am color-blind, I wasn’t able to have a range of opportunities in the military. My placement was therefore in Mortuary Affairs Specialist. I felt that I grew up quicker in my years in service than most people do in their whole lifetime.

    I was nineteen years old on February 8th, 2002. It was kind of cold for Phoenix as I reached the Airport headed to Fort Jackson, in South Carolina for basic training. Upon reaching Fort Jackson, referred by some in the service as relaxant Jackson, I found that the life I had chosen would not be as easy as I thought. Those first couple of days I got a hair cut, issued uniforms, and learned the waiting line for training was long. During this time, since 9/11, there was a mass influx of new recruits; the Army had problems finding them units to train in. For me I was lucky kind of, since I had a school date that did not come around very often, they tried to offer me another job, but I turn them down, I was shipped from Fort Jackson, then to Fort Lenderwood Missionary. The Ozark Mountains are cold and during winter, it was unbearable. It was an extreme change for me because I was mostly familiar with the hot weather in Phoenix, AZ. Exercising and running in extreme weather with being out shape was horrible. There was no special treatment for anyone but the drill sergeants made me work twice as hard. The treatment I received was something similar to a movie, where the fat kid got picked on and abused, but it was some thing I needed in order to become who I need to be. Despite this, I worked hard, did everything I was ordered to do, and eventually I graduated from boot camp with a new physique. During graduation, my fellow recruits honored me with “The Most Changed Person” reward, the Order of the Dragoon.

    I was off to my next challenge, training for my MOS. When I reached Fort Lee, Virginia, I missed my start date and had to wait for the next one. This meant that I couldn’t get a pass to go anywhere; I had to just sit at the barracks, clean the floors, and do KP duty. After awhile this routine got incommodious. I was so happy on Memorial Day 2002, because the next day I was scheduled to start school. Then all of a sudden, I had horrible stomach pains, and could not figure what it was. So I was sent me off to the ER, the doctors initially diagnosed appendix problems. The one-hour surgery was then scheduled immediately, however it took five hours to complete. Apparently, my appendix had been ruptured for over a month including basic training. The surgeons said I am so lucky to be alive. I got a month off to recover and relax. When I got back to Fort Lee, I had to wait another month for class, so eventually when I got to school; I did my best to learn about my job and almost graduated at the top of my class. The reason why I did not graduate at the top of my class was due to my stomach muscles not fully recovering, which made doing sit-ups very hard. I did it because I wanted to join my unit at Fort Lee.

    My feelings of excitement and wanting to serve were still in tact even after months of prolong waiting and recovery. In order to be all that I could be, to be the best, I exceed my own abilities by 120%. The mindset I had, came a long way (physically from Phoenix and mentally from the first story I heard about the terrorist attacks), I had really changed for the better. In the first year, I received my first (minor) medal, the Army Achievement Medal. With this acknowledgement from the Army, I wanted to speed up my deployment overseas to Afghanistan, but that wasn’t going to happen until March 18th 2003. According to orders, my team that I was assigned to from my unit wasn’t schedule to arrive in Iraq first. Instead, I worked in the Theater Mortuary Affairs Evacuation Point, a place that went nonstop for the first three months.

    Sleep was limited to when I did not hear a helicopter, and when body’s slowed down coming in. In the states I had worked at the Richmond Morgue, but war was different. Instead of just seeing some one you did not know in the states, in Kuwait you learn to know every one, due to them wearing the same uniform, and inventorying all their personal effects, you knew who they wear when they left. Not only was our job to process Americans, but we also helped process British, and any other Allies. During this time I saw the mistakes we made, such as shooting British helicopter down with Sam missiles, and killing Brazilin journalist when we hit the wrong building, during that time I saw the horrors that mankind was possible of. I start experiences, problems, and tried to seek medical help, but I was deferred and told I would be fine. My excitement had come to an end, and I start to get in trouble, pretty soon my 1st Sgt, thought that I was not experiencing enough of the war, so he sent me to the Iraq, Camp Alsad. In Camp Alsad, was slow, but became difficult. Some of the soldiers I ate with at the chow hall, and knew were head on a rest and relaxation mission, but instead of making it, their helicopter was shot down. My team had to go clean the site, recover the bodies, and inventory their belongings. Man life is tough, but even tougher if you know the people. There were two other tough missions. The first were, when three Special Forces soldiers had been killed, when they were given orders not to shoot into a crowd even if they were receiving fire, not only did we have to process their bodies, but we also had to process the bodies of the people who had killed them. We are mortuary affairs first, and as such we have a moral obligation not to look at uniform, or lack of one, but to look at the person and understand their journey had come to a end, and it was our job to treat them with respect because every one has family and friends that care for them, it was not are job to judge right or wrong, which is very hard. The second tough mission was when we went with a convoy head to a site, that they had reportedly killed Sadam Husain, but in fact the compound was filled with animals and women and children. I do not think the Air Force meant to kill them, they were trying to do there job in following cell phone singles, and when they split, they went after the most likely target. On this mission two things had happened. One back in Alsad I was having bad night terrors, but the person in charge of my team figured the answer was not sending me back, but instead was to put me on night duty, and to change the location I slept on, in the location I was, this almost spelled disaster for me and my friend, when I woke up and started to scream at the top of my lungs, the people sleeping around the truck react and were about to shoot in the back of the truck, when my Sgt yelled stop he is just dreaming, oh thank god. The second thing is as I stated before, we are trained to respect the dead, and their belongings. This did not transfer to the people there, instead they were ordered to bury everything, destroy all evidence and move on. That pretty much covers Iraq.

    When I got back to the states, I faced many hardships under the care of the Army. I am like millions of other veterans dealing with mental and physical scars of war. Most Americans will never know about these issues because it is not covered in the news or articles. The Army has become a two-sided issue for me; it was once a place where I wanted to succeed at being a great solider and fight for our rights and our country. Now that I came home I am still fighting another battle, however, this fight, I fight alone. I am trying to cope with sudden flashbacks, traumatizing combat events, hyper-vigilance to the recurrence of danger, feelings of numbness, low self-esteem, rage, and lapses in concentration. All of these have caused me to descend in my quality of life. I thought the Army and my unit would continue to care for me, treat me as a fellow solider, and assist me with finding resources for coping and healing. However, this was not the case, my unit classified me as a troublemaker, an unfit solider. As a result, they discharged me out of the Army abruptly without taking responsibility for the causes of my PTSD illnesses. Like other soldiers, I tried to reach out for help but once the system failed, I tried to commit suicide twice during my service. Luckily, both times, one of my few friends stopped me. This incident put me in a mental hospital involuntarily, where they doped me up on strong medicines, and no one cared to seek the reasons behind the action. I wasn’t allowed to receive my care at the Army hospital, because if procedures were followed, there would have been a long investigation and no one wanted to take the time to take care of their wounded soldiers with PTSD. Instead, I was discharged immediately with personality disorder. This seems to be the common practice for the Army, not just in my case but also 20,000 other veterans. At 5 P.M. September 16, 2004, my last official orders from the Army were, TO GET OUT!! Heavily medicated, I received my car keys, and was told to drive over 5000 miles, all the way home to Phoenix, Arizona. My feelings that proscribed afterwards are indescribable.

    Even though I am still in my own body, this whole experience has shaped my life. Following my physical return home to Phoenix, AZ, I, however, didn’t return home with my state of mentality. My homecoming wasn’t what I imagined, that is because it was based on tv and movies I’ve seen about returning soldiers as hero’s. I became hospitalized time and time again.

    Don’t worry, my story gets better and does have a great beginning. This new chapter in my life begins with the chance meeting the love of my life, my wife. With her continued support, I am able to handle some things on my own. A great support system, love, understanding, and patience, is what I think all soldiers should have and receive upon their return home. After all, the important issue is that we are all humans! With the good and the bad, we will always have our memories.

    So on this Veterans Day and every day the best way to honor our veterans is to connect with them. So please remember and honor our fellow humans, our veterans. Without recognition from our family and friends, it doesn’t seem like all of our efforts make a difference. Many of us new veterans are being left behind, we have honored you by defending your rights, and all we ask is to welcome us home.

    Sincerely,
    Joshua C. Poulsen
    Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran

    Joshua POulsen

    November 11, 2008 at 10:40 AM

  3. [...] check out today’s blog post from government-industry thought leader and Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief co-host, Chris [...]

  4. [...] Seen and Taken from DorobekInsider.com [...]


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