Friday, November 11, 2011

The seven percent

If you take the current population of America and figure out how many American veterans there are (a little over 22 million), you can discover that the percentage of Americans living today who are veterans of our military is approximately seven percent.

Some calculations I've seen put the percentage slightly higher, either by adding active-duty personnel or by subtracting non-veterans below 18; but seven percent is about right for a general calculation. ABC puts it this way:

According to the 2010 Census, the population of the United States is 308,745,538. Including active duty, national guard and reserves, the population of Americans in uniform is 2,317,761, meaning that less than1 percent, .75 percent to be exact, of the country's population is a member of the military.

While only a fraction of a percent of the country's population is currently serving, 7 percent of the population is veterans. There are 22,658,000 veterans in america today, just 8 percent of which are female.

I am blessed to live in a family in which three people represent that 7 percent: my husband and his mother and father are all Air Force veterans. I am grateful to them and to all veterans for their service to our country; the OWS protesters, who like to call themselves the ninety-nine percent, could learn a lot about duty, honor, responsibility, hard work and sacrifice from the seven percent.

Happy Veterans Day to all veterans, all active-duty military, and all of their families--and God bless!


Geoff G. said...

Thank-you my dear Red. I appreciate your post, and of course repeat the sentiments to my fellows.

Red Cardigan said...

I'm glad, Geoff. :)

Anonymous said...

God bless our all men and women who help support our country.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

In fact, if the OWS encampment is going to last much longer, they need to acquire some skills and aptitudes the military teaches. They are not doing horribly at maintaining sanitation, but they are vulnerable to all kinds of things breaking down, questionable people walking in, and divisions of opinion turning into gridlock, not unlike our congress. They need to get some retired sergeants in to get those tents lined up in neat order, keep them ship-shape, etc.

I also wonder what it does to our politics when such a small percentage has any direct connection with the military. You don't have to have military experience to love your country, develop sound policy, or provide good public service. But how do you weigh the costs and benefits and necessities of sending people into battle, when you and yours are not making the ultimate sacrifice?

Geoff G. said...

Siarlys Jenkins, considering that unemployment rates for veterans returning from overseas is considerably higher than it is for most people, it's not surprising that there's already a fairly visible contingent of vets at OWS (as, of course, there is in the various Tea Party groups, though they skew older).

I haven't been down to check it out myself, except to just sort of ride through on my bike to see what's going on now and then, but I'd say you're probably right.

On the other hand, a lot of the OWS protesters don't seem much like the type who'd be amenable to military order and discipline.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Right you are Geoff, and some of the less amenable are the ones OWS would be well off without -- even if they do go kicking and screaming about the unfairness of it all. It would be interesting to see if a core of veterans, operating subject to the General Assembly (keeping the principle of military subordination to civil government) could get things better organized, as they need to be.

Anonymous said...

Siarlys, check the current issue of Time Magazine. So far, the military has remained apolitical. I feel we may head down the road the French Army went in the 50s and 60s. Remember the OAS?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Given a choice between checking Time Magazine and listening to a veteran of proven capacity for thoughtful and heartfelt analysis, I'll go with Geoff G. I switched from Newsweek to TIME several years ago, when Newsweek became too faddish for me, and last year, I dropped TIME for the same reason.

If the military goes the route of the OAS, we will have only ourselves as citizens to blame. But as I recall, it was the military who promoted De Gaulle, and the OAS who tried to kill him. Perchance the real situation on the ground was more complex than you anonymously insinuate.