The U.S. could be considered by some as a culture of war. The first indication is that the U.S. has been in one armed conflict or another for nearly 93 percent of the time it has been a country. The staggering $700 billion defense budget for fiscal year 2018 dwarfs the spending of every other country, and many first world countries combined. With so much conflict, the burden has rested heavily on the shoulders of the U.S. Armed Forces, resulting in many veterans from different campaigns and conflicts.
Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”
Recognized as a federal holiday, Veterans Day falls on Nov. 11 this year.
Veterans account for 7 percent of the current U.S. population. The percentage of veterans after World War II was at 12 percent.
It is often difficult to interact with civilians who are well-meaning but unintentionally rude. They often ask deeply personal questions that cross boundaries. They may also render a poorly executed salute in an attempt to show respect. They may not realize that may be considered insulting or just plain awkward by a veteran who no longer in uniform.
Although there are many things my fellow veterans would probably want civilians to know, I would wager we could all agree that we would appreciate it if civilians would stop asking us if we know their random friend or family member that they usually only identify by first name.
There are nearly 22 million veterans, and 1.5 million currently serving, so we can assure you that we probably don’t know them. This is especially true if they were in a different branch and stationed halfway across the world 10 years ago.
Four Veterans were asked what they wished civilians knew before Veterans Day. You can see their response in this video:
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