As the nation pauses today to honor the men and women who have put on the uniform and served their country in wartime and peacetime, consider this: There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States, according to the most recently available figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. That includes 18.3 million whites, 2.3 million blacks, 1.1 million Hispanics, 276,000 Asians, 160,000 American Indians or native Alaskans and 27,000 Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders. Some 1.8 million veterans are women. There are 9.2 million veterans age 65 or older; 1.9 million are younger than 35. Thirty-three percent of all veterans -- 7.8 million -- served during the Vietnam era. Some 5.2 million have served in the Gulf since 1990, while 6 million served during peace time. Around 5.5 million veterans have some type of disability; 3.4 million have service-connected disabilities.
American Hispanics have a proud history of serving in the US Military. Over 500,000 Hispanic soldiers served in World War II, and nearly 40 Latinos have won our nation’s highest award, the Congressional Medal of Honor. More than 53,000 Hispanics were on active duty in 2003 and another 1.1 million are veterans of the U.S. military. Many have also been honored with American citizenship as a result of their military service; more than 25,000 immigrants who have served in the military have become U.S. citizens through a special wartime military naturalization statute.
Today, Hispanics make up 13.35 percent of the civilian labor force 18 to 44 years old, the typical age range for enlisted service. In Iraq, according to the Washington Post, Hispanics have a death risk about 20 percent higher than non-Hispanics. They are over-represented in the categories that get the most dangerous assignments -- infantry, gun crews and seamanship -- and make up over 17.5 percent of the front lines.
Veterans Day is a day to remember all of our Veterans, of ALL ethnicities in our Cultural Melting Pot, for their service to our Country. God Bless America and God Bless our Veterans!