Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars.
The day honors military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
21.2 million Number of military veterans in the United States in 2012.
1.6 million Number of female veterans in the United States in 2012.
11.3% Percent of black veterans in 2012. Additionally, 5.7 percent were Hispanic; 1.3 percent were Asian; 0.8 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native; 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 79.6 percent were non-Hispanic white.
9.6 million Number of veterans 65 and older in 2012. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.8 million were younger than 35.
When They Served 7.4 million Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2012. Moreover, there were 5.4 million who served during the Gulf Wars (representing service from August 1990 to present); 1.6 million who served in World War II (1941-1945); 2.3 million who served in the Korean War (1950-1953); and 5.3 million who served in peacetime only.
Where They Live 3 Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2012. These states were California (1.9 million), Texas (1.6 million) and Florida (1.6 million).
13.6% Percent of people 18 years and older in Alaska who were veterans in 2012.