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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Veterans Day

Image of an eagle on a poster commemorating Veterans Day 2016In the United States, November 11 is a national holiday, Veterans Day. It is a day for honoring all those who have served in the American armed forces. It is different from Memorial Day, which is set aside to remember those died in military service. Veterans Day is for all US military veterans.

Some federal holidays, such as Columbus Day and Presidents Day, are officially observed on a Monday, to give everyone a long weekend. Veterans Day is different. Veterans Day is always celebrated on November 11 because of that date's historical significance. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War I. That war's fighting ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, or 11:00 AM, November 11, 1918. After World War II the holiday was renamed Veterans Day, to honor American veterans of all wars. Despite the name change, Veterans Day remains linked to its historic origin. 

Who are America's veterans? Here are some figures from the US Census.
  • There are about 18.8 million American veterans
  • 1.6 million are women
  • Over 9 million are age 65 or older. 1.6 million are younger than 35
  • 11.6% are African American, 1.5 % are Asian, 6.4% are Hispanic, 0.7% are Native American, 78.3 % are white and 1.3% identified themselves as some other race.
If you want to learn more about our veterans, MCPL has many fine non-fiction books and videos about veterans.  I was particularly intrigued by the book Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel, which follows the lives of several members of an infantry battalion after they return home from a 15 month tour of duty in Iraq.

A wide variety of novels feature veterans as prominent characters. These books range from literary fiction to thrillers, historical fiction, and even romance novels. The Whiskey Rebels by Davis Liss, for instance, is a historical fiction novel that follows the lives of two Revolutionary War veterans struggling to establish lives amidst the turmoil and intrigue of our nation's early years.

MCPL has many resources for veterans entering the civilian workforce. Our Jobs and Careers page has links to career and self-assessment tools, as well as resources for creating resumes and cover letters. MCPL also offers online courses and tools to help veterans prepare for entrance and vocational tests such as the SAT, LSAT, NCLEX and many more.

Montgomery County's Department of Health and Human Services has a page dedicated to local veterans. This page offers information about local events of interest to veterans, as well as information about community organizations such as Serving Together that help veterans access local resources.  In addition to local resources, Maryland has a state level Department of Veterans Affairs that supports Maryland veterans with employment services, training, health services and financial programs.

Finally, among its many services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a Returning Service Members section dedicated to military personnel transitioning to civilian life from service in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

We thank all veterans for their service and appreciate the contributions they continue to make to our community.



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