"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
Thomas Paine, 1776
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs:
The U.S. Veterans Population is 23,532,000; 7% (or 1,745,000) are female
The number of living WW II Veterans (as of 9/30/2007) is 2,795,000
1000 WW II Veterans die every day
39% of our Veterans are 65 or older
There are 29,350 former POWs still living
1,807 soldiers are still MIA from Vietnam
Capt. Michael Speicher of the Gulf War remains classified as missing/captured
8 veterans of the Battle for Iraq were captured by the enemy and rescued.
Spc. Keith Maupin, Spc. Ahmed K. Altaie, Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, and Spc. Alex R. Jimenez are all currently missing.
Both my grandfathers were veterans of WWI; one was not even a US citizen at the time he fought for America and became a POW.
Nancy Thorner writes
...fewer than ten percent of Americans can claim the title of "veteran." American forces have liberated millions of people held hostage by history's evil tyrants. It should therefore come as no surprise that the American GI is accorded time and again the honor of "most respected" in public opinion polls and surveys, or that a national day has been set aside to pay tribune to all veterans throughout this nation's history.
Thanks to all who have served and the families who have sacrificed right along with them.
It is a great privileged to share this country with you all.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Thomas Paine, 1776