Robert Dilenschneider

"Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.” —Charles B. Rangel

On Monday we celebrate Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day).

A national holiday since 1938, it is when we pause to honor all those who have served our nation in war and peace in the U.S. Armed Forces.

In the U.S., Veterans Day is celebrated every November 11, the day on which World War I hostilities formally ended (at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).

There are currently 18.2 million military veterans in the United States—2 million of them women.

Ever since the end of World War II, the U.S. has been the defender of freedom and democracy around the world, often stepping forward when others were reluctant to make commitments. As a part of that historic mission, our nation’s military is now deployed in more than 150 countries.

Great Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World War I and World War II on or near November 11: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain marks Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November.

In Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries as well as in many parts of Europe, it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.

Throughout our history, service men and women have protected the values and liberties that this nation was built on. And they continue contributing to American society far beyond their time on active duty. They use the lessons they’ve learned and the experiences they’ve had in the military to improve our communities. They become our nation’s teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs and public officials. They are among the most active volunteers working in local organizations across our country. For them, the call to service never ends.

And so on this and every Veterans Day, let us honor the men and women who have defended and strengthened the United States of America.

Please think about the many men and women who are in Veterans Affairs Hospitals and who have sacrificed their futures for our country.