Americans Observe National Veterans Awareness Week, Nov. 6-12
By Capt. Steve Alvarez, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2005 A Senate resolution designates this week as National Veterans Awareness Week.
The week, Nov. 6-12, focuses on programs to make students in elementary and secondary schools aware of the contributions of veterans and their importance in preserving American peace and prosperity, Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, who introduced the resolution in May, said.
"This goal takes on particular importance and immediacy this year as we find ourselves again with uniformed men and women in harm's way in foreign lands," he noted.
Biden said that increasingly the American populace does not have a connection with the military community. Part of this, he said, is due to advances in military technology, which have increased the productivity of military personnel.
"Our current armed forces now operate effectively with a personnel roster that is one-third less in size than just 15 years ago," Biden said. "In addition, the success of the all-volunteer, career-oriented force has led to much lower turnover of personnel in today's military than in previous eras."
By comparison, during World War II it was uncommon to find a family in the United States that did not have a family member serving in the military, the senator noted. Today, many families do not have a connection to the military at all.
National Veterans Awareness Week complements Veterans Day, educating as well as commemorating, Biden said. The goal is to remind Americans of the contributions and sacrifices of those who have served in peacetime as well as in conflict.
"To the extent that many of us will not have the opportunity to serve our country in uniform, we must still remain cognizant of our responsibility as citizens to fulfill the obligations we owe, both tangible and intangible, to those who do serve and who do sacrifice on our behalf," Biden said.
Defense Department statistics report 1.4 million personnel are on active duty, and another 1.2 million serve in the Guard and Reserve. And more than 470,000 military personnel serve overseas or afloat.
"On Veterans Day, and in the days ahead, we ask every American to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom," President Bush said in a letter to U.S. educators distributed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. "By flying a flag, thanking a veteran, or expressing gratitude to family members of our troops, you can show your support."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 25 million Americans are military service veterans.