Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 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. The day honors living military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The number of military veterans in the United States in 2009.
The number of female veterans in 2009.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey
There were 1,700,000 fewer veterans in 2009 than there were in 2007, the last figures I posted.
A Holiday to End All Wars discusses the commemorations on November 11th in various countries.