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Census 2000:
The Nation's Veterans
 
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Veterans Fading Away

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As of the 2000 Census there were 26.4 Million living veterans in the United States. This group of "old soldiers" and other dutiful military personnel is increasingly fading away. Since the 1990 Census, the total veteran population in the U.S. declined by 9%, due to the downsizing of military forces and the rapid death rate of aging veterans. The veteran population is considerably older than the non-veteran population, with 37% of veteran males between 65-84 years old compared to just 14% of non-veteran males. Currently, over 1,100 World War II veterans alone are dying each day, with deaths expected to peak in 2008. By 2020 the veteran population will have likely diminished another 34%!

Nearly 1-in-4 adult males in the U.S. are military veterans. They account for 95% of the total veteran population, while 5% are women (though women now account for 15% of active duty personnel). At the time of the census, 23% of veterans lived in the three most populous states, California, Texas and Florida. Seven states had 1 million or more veterans. Alaska had the highest proportion of veterans among its population, at 17%.

 
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United States Veteran Population
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000
Dept. of Veteran Affairs; Dept. of Defense, Military Personnel Statistics

Population by State
Refer to legend below map
Percentage of U.S. Veterans
by Period Served
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Total Veteran Population: 26.4 Million;
"Other" includes WWI and peacetime periods
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l Ministry Ideas l
     
 
Consider visiting the Virtual Wall (Vietnam Memorial) website and/or the Veterans History Project website. Read some of the personal stories available to raise awareness about the thoughts and feelings men and women experience as a result of their service. . .
 
 
l Despite one's political or religious convictions about war, many veterans have paid a great sacrifice and carry profound memories, as well as emotional and physical infirmities. Some in your church may be able to contribute to our national memory and lend a caring ear to veterans of war who are willing, or even eager, to tell their long-silent story. Consider participating in the Veterans History Project, where you can submit interviews via audio or video recording.
l If you are located near a National Cemetery or State Veterans Cemetery, consider contributing time to funeral services for veterans. Proceedings are sometimes left to cemetery staff who are experiencing, in many places, an exhausting increase in burials. As a result, families may be left with a hollow feeling. (Read the Memorial Day 2000 article on the CNN website, "As old soldiers die, military struggles to provide funeral honors".)
Veterans who are residing in VA Healthcare Facilities as long-term care patients are often forgotten. Consider a visitation ministry.
Consider hosting veterans reunions or regular ministry groups for veterans in your community.
 
     
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