Officially beginning on Sep. 1, 1939, World War II is known for being the largest and deadliest war of all time. It encompassed more than 30 countries, resulting in an estimated 70 to 85 million casualties. The U.S. Armed Forces, of course, played a pivotal role in World War II. Below are several facts about our nation’s World War II veterans.
#1) 16 Million Americans Served in World War II
Records show that 16 million Americans served in World War II. Of those 16 million Americans who served, approximately 405,000 were killed in combat while an additional 671,000 sustained nonfatal injury in combat. To put those numbers into perspective, the U.S. population was about 130 million when World War II began.
#2) 389,000 World War II Veterans Are Alive
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are currently only 389,000 American World War II veterans alive. It’s estimated that over 400 American World War II veterans die each day. At this rate, all our nation’s World War II veterans will have passed in less than two decades.
#3) The Average Age of Service Was Just 26
You might be surprised to learn that the average age of soldiers in World War 2 was just 26. For marines, the average age of service was even lower. American soldiers and marines were paramount to the Allies’ war effort, so they often served at a young age.
#4) California Is Home to the Most World War II Veterans
The state with the largest population of World War II veterans is California. According to the National WWII Museum, 39,897 World War II veterans live in The Golden State. The state with the second-largest population of World War II veterans is Florida with 38,955 veterans, followed by Texas with 22,704 veterans.
#5) World War II Veterans Are Honored on Nov. 11
On Nov. 11, World War II veterans are honored throughout the country. Nov. 11, of course, is Veterans Day. It’s an official federal holiday in the United States that’s designed to honor our nation’s veterans.
#6) You Can Show Your Appreciation for World War II Veterans
There are ways to show your appreciation for our nation’s surviving World War II veterans. If you see a veteran in uniform, take a moment to tell him “thanks.” You can also donate to the VA Hospital or a veterans nonprofit organization. Something as simple as displaying the American flag in front of your home will also show your support for our nation’s World War II veterans, as well as other veterans and active servicemembers.