Reasons To Be Thankful To Veterans

Perhaps the most basic reason for being thankful for this nation’s veterans is that each one signed up to defend those of us who did not join the ranks.
They left behind family members, beloved pets and warm, comfy beds to be with a different kind of family on the battlefield and in the trenches. Perhaps they rescue an animal that later became their unit’s unofficial mascot but could never replace their animal companions back home. They were forced to attempt to sleep in less than desirable conditions. They had to postpone anniversary celebrations with their spouses or partners. They were notably absent from holidays and important events in their children’s lives such as birthdays, graduations and weddings.
As civilians, we don’t have to look far to be thankful for this nation’s armed services.
But to deepen that gratitude, here are some statistics about veterans and their service that you may not be aware of.
Current Veterans in the U.S.
As of 2021, there were 14.84 million male veterans and 1.66 female veterans living in the United States, according to
Forty-two percent of those veterans are aged 75 years or older. California has the largest number of veterans with more than 1.6 million. Texas is a close second with more than 1.4 million.
Veteran Deaths
According to a Department of Veterans Affairs document titled America’s Wars, from 1775 to 1991 there were 651,031 battlefield deaths of American military members.
More have died in the global war on terror starting in 1991, but not necessarily in overseas venues.
From 2006 to 2021, the Congressional Research Service determined that 18,571 members of U.S. Armed Services died while on active duty. Approximately one-quarter of those deaths occurred in overseas operations.
That means that three-fourths of those nearly 20,000 service members died from other causes. The report cites the causes of deaths starting with accidents being the highest number followed by suicide, and illness occurring in the United States.
According to, 30 percent of the 2.5 million plus veterans having served post the 9/11 attacks have a service-related disability.
Those disabilities range from diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (20 percent of those veterans), depressive disorder (22 percent), and since 2002, more than 300,00 veterans have been diagnosed with a TBI (traumatic brain injury).
Civilians should not be grateful this has happened to the nation’s service members. But civilians can be thankful to a disabled service member for having endured becoming disabled.
Limb Loss
In the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, 1,558 American military personnel lost a limb.
During the Vietnam War, 5,283 U.S. military members lost a limb.
It is estimated that 60,000 lost a limb or limbs during the Civil War.
Learn More
A recent survey by documented that 71 percent of respondents indicated they do not understand the problems faced by veterans that have served since the 9/11 attacks. Sadly, in the same survey, 84 percent of veterans indicated that the American public has “little awareness” of the challenges they are their family members face related to their previous military service.
The reasons to be thankful for the service provided by veterans is innumerable. Each veteran has given beyond measure to ensure the security of this nation. From all of us at Palm Coast Magazine, thank-you, veterans. Our words are not enough to honor you.
— Amy Armstrong