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Interesting information forwarded by Neil Hargrave of the Wasatch 1 Detachment of the Disabled American Veterans. Thanks Neil.


How a Soldier Sees the American Flag

Denielle Fisher

Many people have family or friends who have served this great country; some have even served in one or more of the various military branches themselves. Either way, everyone who is personally affected by service to the country sees the American flag in a slightly different light, especially soldiers. The flag means something more to them, something deeper.

A soldier has a very profound relationship to the flag. It is not merely a banner representing the country, but it is a symbol of all the things that we as a people hold dear - things that only a soldier can apprehend with perfect clarity.


There is a patch that reads ď7% of Americans have worn a U.S. military uniform, keeping our country free for 100% of Americans. I am proud to be one of them.Ē Regardless of the actual percentage, to any soldier, the red and white and blue means fighting for freedom, the fundamental tenant upon which all our hopes are born, the ideal to which we all subscribe, but sometimes forget to appreciate. The soldier, however never fails to remember it. It is ingrained in them and they remember the cause and their purpose each and every day.

Duty and Commitment

The stars and stripes are the reason so many soldiers dedicate their lives to the service of our country. Seeing the American flag reminds them of the duty and commitment they assumed and endured to ensure the rights of others. For some it was moral obligation, for others a family tradition. Whatever the underlying mentality, the dedication and perseverance undergone is still the same for each soldier.

Courage and Sacrifice

A soldier doing his duty is not exempt from sacrifice. The courage they muster when times are bleak is something many of us will never understand. Bearing the burden they had to bear so someone else didnít have to, is one of the greatest sacrifices of human kind. Many leave families behind, they face injury and risk death. Yet they do it anyway. A soldierís bravery should be inspiration to all, but itís not a conscious thought when we see the American flag. To a soldier it is. Honor and Pride Soldiers will often speak of honor and pride. Most, if not all, will display American flags in some fashion as the flag is a source of both to them. They gladly receive their title regardless of rank, and advertise their membership with clothing, tattoos, bumper stickers and other memorabilia. Soldiers want others to know they are proud to serve and display reminders wherever they can. The aforementioned patch is a prime example of this.


Thoughts of patriotism and the legacy are different in each personís mind but the flag is almost always a part of the dream. Soldiers love the country they serve and have a passion for preserving the core beliefs it was founded on. They strive to protect it, keep it safe and defend its honor. For soldiers the flag means freedom, duty and commitment, sacrifice and courage, honor and pride, and patriotism. Soldiers have an intimate relationship to the American Flag that we as citizens, who experience the joys left in the wake of their sacrifice, can barely comprehend, and never live.

American Veterans: By the Numbers

21.5 million The number of military veterans in the United States in 2011.
1.6 million The number of female veterans in 2011.
2.3 million The number of black veterans in 2011. Additionally,
1.2 million veterans were Hispanic;
264,695 were Asian;
153,223 were American Indian or Alaska Native;
27,469 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and
17.2 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and

Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.) Source: 2011 American Community Survey

The number of veterans 65 and older in 2011. 9.2 million. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.8 million were younger than 35.

When They Served

7.5 million Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2011:
5.1 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present);
1.8 million in World War II (1941-1945);
2.4 million in the Korean War (1950-1953); and
5.4 million in peacetime only.
51,079 Number of living veterans in 2011 who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period.
Other living veterans in 2011 who served during three wars: 43,942 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
Living veterans in 2011 who served during two wars and no other period: 876,663 served during both Gulf War eras.
205,205 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
129,972 served during both World War II and the Korean War.

Where They Live

3 Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2011. These states were California (1.9 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.6 million).
14.0% Percent of people 18 and older in Alaska who were veterans in 2011. The percent of the 18-and- older population who were veterans was 12 percent or more in Maine, Montana, Virginia and Wyoming. Education
26.3% Percent of veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor's degree in 2011.
In comparison, 28.5 percent of the total population had a bachelor's degree or higher.
92.3% Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2011, compared with 86 percent of the population as a whole.


$35,821 Annual median income of veterans, in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars, compared with $25,811 for the population as a whole.

On the Job 9.1 million Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2011.
Disabilities 3.5 million Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating. Of this number, 810,245 have a rating of 70 percent or higher. Severity of one's disability is scaled from 0 to 100 percent and eligibility for compensation depends on one's rating.

Voting 15.8 million Number of veterans who voted in the 2008 presidential election. Seventy-one percent of veterans cast a ballot in the presidential election.
12.4 million Number of veterans who voted in the 2010 congressional election.
Fifty-seven percent of veterans voted in the 2010 congressional election.

Business Owners 9% Percentage of all U.S. nonfarm firms that are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised an estimated 2.4 million of the 27.1 million nonfarm businesses nationwide in 2007. 75% Percentage of veteran owners of respondent firms who were 55 or older in 2007. This compares with 37 percent of all owners of respondent firms. Similarly, in 2007, 56 percent of veteran-owned respondent firms with employees reported that their businesses were originally established before 1990. This compares with 39 percent of all employer respondent firms. 8% Percentage of veteran owners of respondent firms who were disabled as the result of injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.

Read more: Veterans Day: Census Facts |