Veterans Day is one of ten federal holidays that is recognized nationwide by the United States Government.  It is celebrated every November 11th and is designated as a day to honor all who have served in the military.  Veterans Day day is a remembrance of all U.S. military veterans - past and present.  Congress made it an official holiday with the passage of the National Holiday Act in 1971.

Veterans Day was formerly known as Armistice Day.  It was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I. This day was originally intended to honor veterans of World War I.  On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations went into effect.  On November 11, 1919 Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time.  President Wilson proclaimed the day should be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory".

On  In 1926, the U.S. Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and declared the anniversary of the armistice be commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving.  They also issued a proclamation that all officials display the U.S. flag on all government buildings on November 11th. In 1954, the veterans service organizations urged Congress to change the word "Armistice" to "Veterans". 

Of our 45 presidents, over half of them have served in the military.  Up until World War 11, the majority of our presidents served in the Army.  Since then, most served in the Navy.

Following are some interesting facts about the veteran population of the United States:
    *  16.1 million living veterans served in at least one war.
    *  5.2 million veterans served in peacetime.
    *  2 million veterans are women.
    *  7 million veterans served in the Vietnam War.
    *  5.5 million veterans served in the Persian Gulf War.

Veterans Day is a sacred American holiday that is often celebrated with somber remembrances and ceremonies.  Every year on November 11th, a ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate this holiday.  During this ceremony, the President of the United States places a wreath on the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier.  Many small towns and cities all over the US hold parades and various ceremonies and activities in honor of our Veterans


Presidents Who Served In The Military

Chester A. Arthur, New York Militia. Brigadier General of the New York Militia before and during the Civil War.
James Buchanan, Pennsylvania State Militia. Private, War of 1812.
George H. W. Bush, US Naval Reserve. Lieutenant, Naval aviator in WW II. Shot down and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
George W. Bush, Texas National Guard. First Lieutenant, served stateside as pilot during the Vietnam War (1968-1973).
Jimmy Carter, US Navy. Midshipman, US Naval Academy during World War II. Sea duty and stateside service (1946-1953) during the Korean War.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, US Army. General, stateside service during World War I. Served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World II (1942-1945).
Millard Fillmore, New York State Militia. Major, served in New York Militia in 1820s and 1830s.  Organized Union Continentals Home Guard Unit in Buffalo, New York during the Civil War.
Gerald Ford, US Naval Reserve. Lieutenant Commander, World War II (1942-1945) combat on USS Monterey.
James Garfield, US Army. Major General, served in the American Civil War (1861-1863).
Ulysses S. Grant, US Army. General, served in in the Mexican-American Civil War and American Civil War. Served in the years 1843-1854 and 1861-1868.
Benjamin Harrison, US Army. Brigadier General, commanded battles of Resaca, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Peachtree Creek and Atlanta. Also commanded a brigade during Sherman's March to the Sea.
William Henry Harrison, US Army. Major General, served in Northwest Indian War and War of 1812.
Rutherford B. Hayes, US Army. Major General, served in the American Civil War. Wounded at the Battle of South Mountain. Also served at the Battle of Antietam.
Andrew Jackson, Continental Army, US Army. Major General, American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Creek War, First Seminole War.
Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Militia. Colonel, Commander of Albemarle County Militia at beginning of American Revolution.
Andrew Johnson, US Army. Brigadier General, served in Tennessee Militia in 1830s and American Civil War.
Lyndon B. Johnson, US Naval Reserve.  Commander during World War II - awarded the Silver Star.
John F. Kennedy, US Naval Reserve. Lieutenant, served in combat during World War II. Awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart.
Abraham Lincoln, Illinois State Militia. Captain, served in the Black Hawk War.
James Madison, Virginia Militia. Colonel, Commander of Orange County Militia at start of American Revolution. Commanded troops during the Battle of Bladensburg.
William McKinley, US Army. Major, served in the American Civil War. Fought in Battle of South Mountain, The Battle of Antietam and in the Valley Campaigns of 1864.
James Monroe, Continental Army. Major, served in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole Revolution War.
Richard Nixon, US Naval Reserve. Commander, served in World War II (1942-1945); earned two Battle Stars for his service in the Pacific.
Franklin Pierce, US Army. Brigadier General, served in the Mexican-American War. Commanded infantry Brigade at Battle of Contreras, Battle of Churubusco and the assault on Mexico City.
James K. Polk, Tennessee State Militia. Colonel, joined cavalry unit in Tennessee  Militia as a Captain. Later appointed a Colonel on the staff of Governor William Carroll.
Ronald Regan, US Army Reserve, US Army Air Forces. Captain, served in Army Reserve (1937-1942). Stateside service during World War II (1942-1945).
Theodore Roosevelt, US Army. Colonel, served in Spanish-American War as second in command. Then, served as the Commander of the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders). The only US president to receive the Medal of Honor which was awarded posthumously in 2001.
William Howard Taft, Connecticut Home Guard.  US Secretary of War 1904-1908. Enlisted in Connecticut Home Guard for World War I.
Zachary Taylor, US Army. Major General, served in War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War & Mexican American War.
Harry S. Truman, Missouri Army National Guard, US Army, US Army Reserves. Colonel, served in Missouri National Guard (1905-1911); combat in France during World War I (1917-1918).
John Tyler, Virginia Militia. Captain, War of 1812.
George Washington, Virginia Militia, Continental Army, US Army. General of the Armies of the US, served in the French and Indian War and American Revolutionary War.

Entertainers Who Served In The Military


Don Adams, US Marines. Wounded on Guadalcanal - then served as a Drill Instructor.
Danny Aiello, US Army.  Lied about his age to enlist at age 16 - served 3 years.
Claude Akins, US Army. Signal Corps, Burma and the Philippines.
Eddie Albert, US Coast Guard.  Bronze Star with Combat V for saving several Marines under fire during the invasion of Tarawa.
James Arness, US Army. Served as an infantryman & was wounded at Anzo, Italy.
Gene Autry, US Air Corps.  Crewman on Transports that ferried supplies into the China-Burma-India Theater.
Ernest Borgnine, US Navy. Gunners Mate 1c, destroyer USS Lamberton - 10 years active duty. Discharged in 1941 & re-enlisted after Pearl Harbor.
Charles Bronson, US Army Air Corps. B-17 gunner, wounded in action.
Mel Brooks, US Army. Combat Engineer.
Raymond Burr, US Navy. Medically discharged after being shot in the abdomen on Okinawa
Harry Carey, Jr., US Navy.
Art Carney, US Army. Wounded on Normandy Beach, D-Day.
Chuck Connors, US Army. Tank-warfare Instructor.
William Conrad, US Army Air Corps. Fighter Pilot.
Tony Curtis, US Navy. Sub tender USS Proteus.
Kirk Douglas, US Navy. Sub-chaser in the Pacific. Wounded in action and medically discharged.
Charles Durning, US Army. Landed at Normandy on D-Day. He was shot multiple times. Awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star and three Purple hearts.
Henry Fonda, US Navy. Destroyer USS Satterlee.
Clark Gable, US Army Air Corps. B-17 Gunner over Europe.
George Gobel, Army Air Corps. Instructor of fighter pilots.
Peter Graves, US Army Air Corps.
James Gregory, US Navy and US Marines.
Fred Gwynne, US Navy. Radioman.
Buddy Hackett, US Army . Anti-aircraft gunner.
Sterling Hayden, US Marines and OSS. Smuggled guns into Yugoslavia and parachuted into Croatia. Awarded Silver Star.
Charlton Heston, US Army Air Corps. Radio operator and aerial gunner on a B-25 Aleutians.
William Holden, US Army Air Corps.
Rock Hudson, US Navy. Aircraft mechanic in the Philippines.
Brian Keith, US Marines. Radioman/Gunner in dive bombers.
George Kennedy, US Army. Enlisted after Pearl Harbor.
DeForest Kelley, US Army Air Corps.
Jack Klugman, US Army.
Ted Knight, US Army. Combat Engineers.
Harvey Korman, US Navy.
Don Knotts, US Army.
Karl Malden, US Army Air Corps. 8th Air Force, NCO.
Lee Marvin, US Marines. Sniper. Wounded in action on Saipan.
Walter Matthau, US Army Air Corps. B-24 Radioman/Gunner and Cryptographer.
Victor Mature, US US Coast Guard.
Burgess Meredith, US Army Air Corps.
Ed McMahon, US Marines, Fighter Pilot.
Robert Mitchum, US Army.
Robert Montgomery, US Navy.
Audie Murphy, US Army. America's most decorated soldier.
Paul Newman, US Navy.  Rear Seat Radioman/Gunner torpedo bombers of USS Bunker Hill.
Hugh O'Brian, US Marines
Jack Palance, US Army Air Corps. Severely injured bailing out of a burning B-24 bomber.
Fess Parker, US Navy and US Marines. Booted from Pilot Training for being too tall, joined Marines as a Radio Operator.
Robert Preston, US Army Air Corps. Intelligence Officer.
Tyrone Power, US Marines, Transport Pilot in the Pacific Theater.
Ronald Reagan, US Army. 2nd Lt. in the Cavalry Reserves before the war. Due to poor vision, when the war started he could not go overseas with his unit. He then transferred to the Army Air Corps Public Relations Unit.
Don Rickles, US Navy. Aboard USS Cyrene.
Jason Robards, US Navy. Was aboard the USS Northampton when it sunk off Guadalcanal
Dale Robertson, US Army. Tank Commander in North Africa under Patton. Wounded twice.
Cesar Romeo, UC Coast Guard.
Mickey Rooney, US Army under Patton. Bronze Star
Soupy Sales, US Navy. Served on USS Randall in the South Pacific.
Telly Savalas, US Army.
Randolph Scott, US Army. World War I
Mickey Spillane, US Army Air Corps, Fighter Pilot and later Instruction Pilot.
Rod Serling, US Army 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific.
Robert Stack, US Navy, Gunnery Officer
Rod Steiger, US Navy.
Frank Sutton, US Army
Forest Tucker, US Army
Dennis Weaver, US Navy. Pilot
Johnathan Winters, US Marine Corps. Battleship USS Wisconsin and Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard. Anti-aircraft Gunner. Battle of Okinawa.
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., US Army. Severely wounded at Huertgen Forest. Purple Heart.


Page Created: 1/11/20
Page Updated: 4/22/20