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Five Facts about Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor our military veterans, both living and dead, who have served in wartime and peacetime. (–Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who have died while serving.)

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#1.) There Are Over 22 Million War Veterans Living in the U.S. That’s according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It includes 1.7 million veterans from World War Two, 2.2 million from Korea, 7.3 million from Vietnam, 5 million from Afghanistan and Iraq, and 500,000 from the Persian Gulf War.

#2.) Veteran’s Day Was Originally Called “Armistice Day.” November 11th, 1919 was the first anniversary of the end of World War One. Armistice Day was originally supposed to honor veterans of THAT war. But now it extends to ALL veterans. Congress made it a national holiday in 1938, then renamed it Veterans Day in 1954.

#3.) “God Bless America” Debuted on the Radio for Veteran’s Day in 1938. Irving Berlin wrote it in 1918, but it was another 20 years before he changed the lyrics and turned it into the version WE all know.
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#4.) The Official Symbol of Veterans Day is the Poppy. In 1918, a woman in Georgia named Moina Belle Michael read a John McCrae poem called “In Flanders Fields“, and it inspired her to wear red poppies as a way of remembering. Flanders Fields is a World War One battleground and cemetery in Belgium.

#5.) The Motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs Is a Quote from Abraham Lincoln. The motto is, quote, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle.” It’s from the final paragraph of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

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