Madison (WKOW) -- from WI Dept. of Veteran's Affairs: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary James B. Peake Thursday called on all Americans on Veterans Day, November 11, 2008, to recognize the nation's 23.4 million living veterans and all the generations of veterans who fought to protect freedom and democracy.
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs selected as its theme for Veterans Day 2008: "Generations of Thanks for Generations of Service."
They said it is important that Wisconsin citizens take time on Veterans Day to honor veterans of all ages and all experiences.
The beginnings of Veterans Day date back 90 years ago, to the armistice ending World War I, regarded as the end of the "war to end all wars," with the cease-fire in effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month on November 11, 1918.
The following year, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the commemoration of Armistice Day.
Subsequently, the day was proclaimed by U.S. Congress each year, beginning in 1926.
In 1954, Armistice Day became "Veterans Day" as a result of legislation signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, to honor all those who have served the nation in wars or conflicts, and the day has been observed on November 11 each year since 1978.
In addition to Veterans Day, pursuant to 2007 Wisconsin Act 22, the seven-day period that ends on November 11 (Nov. 5-11, 2008) has been designated as "Veterans Recognition Week" in Wisconsin, in accordance to U.S. Senate Resolution 692, designating Nov. 9-15, 2008 as "National Veterans Awareness Week."
The purpose of Veterans Recognition Week is to encourage all citizens to honor veterans and to emphasize educating students about the contributions of veterans.
Additionally, 2007 Wisconsin Act 22 declares the week of November that starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday in which November 11 falls as "Hire A Veteran Week" (Nov. 9-15, 2008), for the purpose of encouraging Wisconsin's employers to hire veterans and educate employers and veterans of the employment resources that are available to help veterans transition to the workforce.
In Wisconsin there are over 436,958 veterans.
Included in this number are 328,278 wartime veterans and 118,654 peacetime veterans.
The total number of women veterans living in Wisconsin is 27,746.
Our World War II veterans number 48,527, and the number of Korean War veterans is 52,962.
The largest number of Wisconsin Veterans are Vietnam Era veterans, with 146,530.
In Wisconsin we have over 24,000 veterans who have deployed as part of the Iraq and Afghanistan war.
Over two-fifths of these are members of the National Guard and Reserve.
Veterans Day was designed as a day to pay tribute and honor to all those who have served our nation and their families.