Thank a Veteran this weekend

RALEIGH – Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served. For one day, we stand united in respect for our veterans. The freedom we all enjoy was made possible by those who have served, from the Revolutionary War, to Afghanistan. Our men and women in uniform swear to uphold and defend the constitution and the principles enshrined therein. A day of respect is the least we can do to acknowledge the role veterans have in establishing a nation we can prosper in.

This holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s service and was originally called Armistice Day. It fell on Nov. 11 because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” in order to account for all veterans in all wars.

World War I was a multinational effort, so it makes sense that our allies also wanted to celebrate their veterans on November 11. The name of the day and the types of commemorations differ, however.

Canada and Australia both call November 11 “Remembrance Day.” Canada’s observance is pretty similar to our own, except many of its citizens wear red poppy flowers to honor their war dead. In Australia, the day is more akin to our Memorial Day.

Great Britain calls it “Remembrance Day,” too, but observes it on the Sunday closest to November 11 with parades, services and two minutes of silence in London to honor those who lost their lives in war.

More than 650,000 veterans call North Carolina home. In addition to having a large military installation footprint, the Old North State is also a premier destination to call home, for work and play. Veteran unemployment, at 2%, is only half of the overall rate in North Carolina.

Though veterans are comprising a smaller share of the civilian adult population as distance from large war efforts lengthen, we all know at least one who has served. In North Carolina, veterans now make up 8.6% of the adult population, down from 9.1% in 2013. Nationally, though, veterans are an even smaller share of the adult population: 7.4% in 2016 versus 8.1% in 2013.

In North Carolina, like the nation, the largest share of veterans served during the Vietnam era: 35% in NC and 36% nationwide. Compared to the national average, North Carolina’s veterans are more likely to report Gulf War era service (45% vs. 38% nationally) and less likely to have served during the Korean War or World War II (10% vs. 13%).

So spare thought, or more, for veterans this weekend. Here is a list of ways to express your appreciation for veterans from



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