How veterans add up

With Veterans Day approaching, the U.S. Census Bureau on Friday came out with one of its Facts for Features news releases profiling American veterans. The statistics are all for 2013.

Here’s a sampling:

Number of veterans in the United States: 19.6 million
Female veterans: 1.6 million
Veterans 65 and older: 9.3 million
Those younger than 35: 1.6 million
World War II veterans: 1.3 million
Korean War veterans: 2.1 million
Vietnam-era veterans: 9 million
Veterans who served during the Gulf War Era (representing service from August 1990 to the present): 5.2 million
Peacetime-only veterans: 4.7 million
States with the most veterans: California, Texas, Florida
Veterans with a service-connected disability: 3.6 million

By the way, I’m not a veteran. The military didn’t interest me when I was a kid. Plus, I got out of high school the year all of our combat troops pulled out of Vietnam, a time when the service wasn’t held in high regard.

I’m not sure I would’ve been able to make the grade as a soldier, sailor or airman — I’m too slow, too nervous and too much of a klutz. Still, sometimes I think the training and discipline would have been good for me, might have helped me grow up faster than I did.

And if I’d been in the military like the millions above, I could have said I served the country. That would count for a lot.

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