Today is Veterans Day. Take the opportunity to thank members and former members of the armed services for their commitment to ensure the freedoms that we all enjoy.
A portion of older veterans were likely draftees — men who were essentially ordered to join the military. Until the end of the Vietnam War, the armed services were generally staffed with men who were called by their local draft boards, which had quotas to fill.
Since 1973, the United States has had an all-volunteer army and that fighting force includes women. This nation has soldiers in combat zones. The family members and friends of those that volunteered to serve are affected by the fighting, but the daily life of most Americans is not.
The portion of the population actively involved in military service is less than one half of 1 percent. During World War II, an estimated 8.5 percent of the population was in the armed services. During the Vietnam War, about 2 percent of the population was in military service.
Our politicians are less familiar with the military than previous generations. Only one of Wisconsin’s representatives in Washington, D.C., Rep. Mike Gallagher, has military experience — spending seven years in the Marines, including two tours in Iraq.
President Donald Trump has no military experience and neither did his predecessor. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and Reps. Paul Ryan, Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, James Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy, Gwen Moore and Glenn Grothman — all have no military experience.
But they are not alone.
Fewer and fewer of us have personal experience with military service. According to the website FiveThirtyEight.com, only 7.3 percent of all living Americans have military experience. That makes it even more important to thank those who do have that experience.
There are many local events today to laud veterans. Among them:
American Legion Post 21, 504 58th St., Kenosha: 8 a.m., military history celebration, displays and educational presentations for public; 11 a.m. free lunch for veterans and live broadcast of “Kenosha Today” radio show.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Junker-Ball Post 1865, 6618 39th Ave., Kenosha: 11 a.m., POW/MIA ceremony; noon lunch; 1 p.m., flag retirement ceremony.
Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans, Library Park, 711 59th Place, Kenosha: Noon event.
Navy Club Ship 40, Navy Park, 54th Street and Sixth Avenue, Kenosha: 5 p.m. event.
Civil War Museum, 5400 First Ave., Kenosha: 1 p.m., “Finding the Lost Battalion,” author and historian Robert J. Laplander presents the true story of Maj. Charles W. Whittlesey and the 700 men of the American 77th Division; 3 p.m., special Wisconsin National Guard’s 132nd Army Band concert. Free and open to the public.
Take the time to say thank you. Thank you veterans, for your service.