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MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back at veterans and war

HISTORY: Here is a look back at veterans, wars and facts surrounding the two

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for the annual observance and November 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars.

By the (2012) numbers:

21.2 million -The number of military veterans

Reader poll

QUIK QUIZ: Who said: “Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don’t have that problem”?

  • Gen. Douglas McArthur 0%
  • Actor John Wayne 70%
  • Sen. Gary Hart 0%
  • President Ronald Reagan 30%

10 total votes.

1.6 million - The number of female veterans

9.6 million - The number of veterans age 65 and older

1.8 million - The number of veterans younger than 35

7.4 million - The number of Vietnam-era veterans

5.4 million - The number who served during the Gulf Wars, representing service from August 1990 to present.

1.6 million -Veterans who served in World War II

2.3 million - Veterans who served in the Korean War

26.7% - The percentage of veterans age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree.

$36,264 - The annual median income of veterans, compared with $26,278 for the population as a whole.

3.6 million - The number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating. Of this number, 881,981 had a rating of 70 percent or higher. Severity of one’s disability is scaled from 0 to 100 percent.

Did you know?

Less than 28 percent of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are qualified for military service, that’s only about 1-in-4.

— The Department of Defense owns over 29 million acres of land worldwide.

— The Coast Guard is smaller than the New York City Police Department yet, on any given day, it seizes about 160 pounds of marijuana and 300 pounds of cocaine..

— The U.S. Army was in charge of exploring and mapping America. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was an all Army affair. Army officers were the first Americans to see such landmarks such as Pike’s Peak and the Grand Canyon.

Thirty presidents served in the U.S. Army, 24 during time of war. Two earned the rank of 5-star General (George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower) and one earned the Medal of Honor (Theodore Roosevelt). Only one president (James Buchanan) served as an enlisted man in the military and did not go on to become an officer.

— The U.S. dropped more bombs in Korea (635,000 tons, as well as 32,557 tons of napalm) than in the entire Pacific theater during WWII.

— Due to a metal shortage in World War II, the Academy Awards used painted plaster for three years. When the war was over, the Academy invited everyone who won ‘fake’ plaster Oscars to have them replaced with real ones made out of metal.

— Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era.

— By the end of the Civil War between a third and a half of all money in circulation in the U.S. was counterfeit.

— “Little Willie” was the first prototype tank in WWI. Built in 1915, it carried a crew of three and could travel as fast as three mph.

— In 1942, an Army private earned $50 a month.

— While completing the required 30 missions, U.S. Air Corps servicemen in WWII had a 71% chance of being killed.

— The U.S. Interstate Highway System requires that one mile motorway in every five be straight so that these sections can be used as airstrips in times of war.

— When the battleship USS Arizona was destroyed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, 23 sets of brothers were killed.

— By 1779, as many as one in seven Americans in George Washington’s army was black. Those that were slaves were promised freedom for serving the entire war.

— The term “dogfight” originated during WWI. The pilot had to turn off the plane’s engine from time to time so it would not stall when the plane turned quickly in the air. When a pilot restarted his engine mid-air, it sounded like dogs barking.

— The Spanish-American War lasted for only 10 weeks.The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898, officially ending the war. Spain surrendered control of Cuba and ceded Puerto Rico, parts of Guam , the West Indies and the Philippine Islands to the United States for $20 million.

Kleenex tissues were developed for use as gas mask filters during the World War I.

— During the Vietnam War more than 58,000 American soldiers were killed in action. It has been estimated that nearly twice that many have committed suicide since their return to the states.

— In March 2013, North Korea declared the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War invalid.

— From 1940-1945, the U.S. defense budget increased form $1.9 billion to $59.8 billion.

— The U.S. Army used approximately 1,500 dogs during the Korean War and 4,000 in the Vietnam War.

— Nearly two-thirds of military deaths in WWI were in battle. In previous conflicts, most deaths were due to disease.

— Over 18,000 fighter jets were deployed in Desert Storm, all on June 17th, 1991.

— Isaac Asimov once said, “It is not only the living that are killed in war.”

— One in six deaths of military personnel in Iraq were too young to buy a beer.

— In the 2012 presidential election, 70 percent of veterans cast a ballot.