What Is A Veteran

We here at Guardian Of Valor believe the word Veteran holds special meaning, not only to the people of the United States of America, but to other countries as well. Due to the recent controversy over the use of the word for a clothing line in San Diego we want your thoughts on what you consider a Veteran.

Is it a word that should be reserved for those who have served this country in the Military, or do you believe in the dictionary meaning of the word that it pertains to anyone with experience in any field?

Here is a little history on Veterans Day itself provided by the Veterans Administration:

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

n November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts
On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Dictionary definition:

This is the dictionary definition of a Veteran:

vet·er·an   [vet-er-uhn, ve-truhn]
1.a person who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or the like: a veteran of the police force; a veteran of many sports competitions.
2.a person who has served in a military force, especially one who has fought in a war: a Vietnam veteran.

3. (of soldiers) having had service or experience in warfare: veteran troops.
4. experienced through long service or practice; having served for a long period: a veteran member of Congress.
5. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of veterans.

So we would like your comments and thoughts and what you think a Veteran is.

Related post New Clothing Line using the term Veteran for personal profit


What are your thoughts?
31 comments on “What Is A Veteran
    • An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Going by this I’m not even a Veteran, because the Cold War isn’t recognized as a war, even though all the free world leaders got their CWVM. You can be an expert in a field of labor of your choosing but your no Veteran just like me I’m only an Expert Infantrymen nothing more nothing less!

  1. I think first and foremost Veteran applies to those who have served/are serving in the Armed Forces. Second, being a veteran can apply to Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters and Emergency Medical personnel. Lastly, being a “veteran of many (insert here)”. Granted my view may be slanted because I am an Army Veteran, but that’s what I think.

  2. Just look at VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, Dept. Of VETERANS AFFAIRS, VETERANS GROUP LIFE INSURANCE, and see tha it is a term reserved for soldiers.

  3. When people interview for jobs, talk about things they’ve done in their lives with other people, and things of that nature, “vet” or “veteran” is always taken to mean a veteran of the Armed Forces.

    No one talks generally about being a veteran. “Yeah, I’ve been a veteran of the dance industry.”

    The company’s technical meandering into semantics while using military symbolism to promote their products while insisting on alternative definitions of “veteran” is disingenuous at best and an outright falsehood at worst.

  4. Gee, I always thought it was someone who served in ANY capacity in ANY occupation, and earned the right to be called a veteran …whatever!..Since I’m a military veteran, and a law enforcement veteran….would you feel safer flying with a novice or a “veteran” pilot?..do you want to differentiate between a “combat veteran” and a “military veteran”?? I’m thinking it’s pretty narrow minded to confine a term to a specific….that’s what liberals…that’s political correctness…

  5. A Veteran like myself and many others see the word as what we are. People who served faithfully for any number of years in many of the different branches that make up the armed forces of the United States of America. The issue is not with the use of the word veteran. The issue is with the way this company is advertising their clothing. I’ve been to many department stores and never once though “Oh my God, that clothing is BDU patter or ACU patter. BOYCOTT that company.” They used the purple heart at one point on their clothing, they salute, they even at one point had 11.11.11 (Veterans day) as their Facebook update, not to say thank you to the thousands upon millions of people who have died serving this country and who continue to serve, BUT to make money. They continue to say that they are not trying to turn a profit from using the word Veteran, when used in the context that they are using it, not by the definition that they are giving, is wrong. They should be ashamed. Their family should be ashamed. I would not have an issue with this company if they had the name veteran clothing and didn’t use all the military motifs. That in itself is the main issue. I hope that in the end we can resolve the conflict that the Veteran community, myself and many, many others have with them, but because of their age I don’t see that this is going to work out.

  6. Well, I don’t think we have a Veteran’s Day to honor all the experienced pro football players, or some dancing turd trying to sell shirts. No, we honor war veterans who made it possible to live in this wonderful country. Without whom I would not have the right to say that I would not wipe my butt with one of those shirts! I thought I was a veteran after 3 years in the Army – but after 24 years I may have changed my mind about that.

  7. While I’m a veteran myself I have to agree that the word in and of itself is not the problem. What is at the heart of this matter is the way the word is being portrayed. As I see it the clothing company is using it as a marketing tool. In that marketing they use the later definition based on the photos of the american flag and monuments in the background. There is where they are using the word veteran to mean a person of military service. What angers me is the way they try to deny this. Then act as if we are overreacting. I wish that the company is willing to change their position and continue to grow and thrive. Thanks for reading my rant

  8. Idiots….idiots everywhere (meaning the clothing company douchebag). Young kids these days with idiotic terms like SWAG, YOLO and now VETERAN? C’mon now….

  9. I believe that this clothing company should cease to make its brand under the Veteran name. I am an Army Infantry Veteran of Afghanistan, and it is insulting to me that someone would try to make money off of the sacrifices that my brothers and sisters in arms make every day. Perhaps the most insulting design of theirs was the shirt with the Purple Heart on it, I personally hold Veterans who were wounded during combat above the rest of us lucky enough to come home unscathed. It shows their extreme commitment to our country and to allow any joker who has never smelled the smoke and sent rounds down range in anger, let alone been wounded by enemy action is in my not so humble opinion criminal. I hope that some legal action is taken to stop them.

  10. You can build a defense by sifting through history, extracting definitions of the word in dictionaries, take a poll but it all comes down to the heart & soul. A Veteran is a Veteran, no way around, under, through, over it. No need to defend the meaning but I’ll sure as hell disagree with any company just placing the word on clothing as a fashion statement. Our Veterans have paid the ultimate price, we need to protect their honor.

  11. It’s all about context. I believe the important distinction to be made is in how the term is used. Generally when someone simply says, “I’m a veteran,” it’s understood that they are a military veteran. The term veteran can be used to describe those in different occupations but it requires the use of an additional identifier. For example to describe someone who is a well respected pilot it would be said, “He is a veteran PILOT”.

  12. As a Vietnam Vet this douchebag is disrespecting all military vets. To use the image of a purple heart is supreme douchbaggery. Any kid that thinks differently needs to be taken out behind the woodshed and taught a little respect.

  13. To me ‘Veteran’ is reserved for someone who has done service in the Military although not limited to the U.S. Military Services.

    I feel that for the civilian world Journeyman is appropriate.

    Haven’t heard of a veteran carpenter, a veteran iron worker..nope those are journeyman.

    No Veteran in his right mind would purchase any of those products.

  14. The word veteran holds a very special place in my heart, as Pres. John F. Kennedy said, “Any man who may be asked in this century, what he did to make his life worthwhile, can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, I served in the United States Navy”.

    Veterans can be of any occupation, sure, but do a google images search for “veteran” and tell me what you see. 99.9% of the images are of marines, soldiers, sailors, and airman, real veterans, not swangin dancers or ignorant, entitled college kids who seemingly do not understand their downfall.

    The only non-military ‘veteran’ picture I saw said, “veteran gamers, it’s never too old to play”. But the difference between that and this clothing company they distinguished themselves as to not make any mistakes. Do another google search on the web for the word “veteran” and you will will find that sports players, actors, fighters, and businessmen alike are referred to as veterans, however the difference is in their ability to distinguish. Some perspective: If I see this in the news, “Ravens cut veteran kicker Billy Cundiff”, that upsets me in no way because I know they aren’t trying to pass a kicker off as something he’s not because they distinguished. Now we see an ad for veteran clothing “Demanding over asking, salute me”.

    Oh, they have no affiliation with the military or do not employ military? I wonder why then we see in their ads and photographs they have taken down, purple heart t-shirts, marine digi green name tapes on white t-shirts, and their ‘models’ picking up army ACU backpacks in their commercial.

    The fact is that worldwide, people will always affiliate and recognize the word Veteran with men and women of honorable military service, not actors, not basketball players, and sure as hell not swangin dancers. I certainly don’t feel like as a community the military owns the word Veteran (although the federal government does), but it’s not about owning a word or ‘hatin’ as the CEO Billy Truong put it. It’s about the respect of all Veterans here in America and world wide, it’s also about protecting the memory of those who have fallen to help protect this great nation. POW/MIA/WIA/KIA Brothers In Arms Forever and Always.

  15. These punks play video games and think they know what’s what. They want to identify with us so be it. You couldn’t kick respect into one of these kids’ ribs. How about the guys in an air conditioned room flying drones calling themselves veterans. That’s a joke if you ask me.

      • I think everyone is missing the real point here. Even if the word Veteran was accurate to Discribe any profession this Doesnt explain why they claim to have no affiliation to the military and yet they are selling shirts with Purple Hearts and that say “Salute Me”? The Salute is a Military form of rendering respect toward a Military Officer. Not a child who has done nothing except disrespect us but promoting his clothing with pictures standinf infront of Monuments and Memorial grounds. Veterans day every year is the Day given to Military Veterans to be shown thanks and yet these kids held thier grand opening on it and somehow we are still worried about the correct use of the word “Veteran” 1)Where were thier Parents? 2)What are these kids Veterans of again? High School? Anyway do they actually have a store with Merchandise in it? Does anyone know? If so this Current/Active and Military/Combat Veteran, for all the reasons listed above will be standing outside the shop tomorrow after I get out of work at 1630 to try and talk some of the business away if anyone wants to join me. Starting next week after the Holiday I will do this everyday untill they are closed. I could use some supporters and maybe some flyers to hand to Customers as they start to was in. Please contact me at d.dager@yahoo.com with info or details. I will not let this disrespect to continue without giving my all to those Veterans past, present, and future aswell as the ones we lost including personal friends of my own.

  16. I agree with the FEDERAL Diffenition pertaining to Military Service and Law Enforcement officers.
    Webster’s is too liberal. As for the Douche waffles in the “VET SQUAD” / Vet Clothing line, they’re not even old enough to have many years of experience in anything but douche baggery.

  17. Honestly, what is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “Veteran”? The first thing that comes to my mind is the image of a Soldier in his military uniform. On Veterans Day, what are we celebrating? Veterans of the military, not pro athletes or talented artists or gifted musicians not even our courageous firefighters. I get that there is a definition and a federal definition of the word Veteran, but I think it all needs to be changed to what the federal definition is. I mean, do you see any dancers walking into The VA for assistance?

  18. There’s a pretty big difference between saying he / she is a VETERAN., And saying he /she is a veteran pilot, Law Enfor @$$22-cement Veteran, veteran dancer.. These clowns are posing their clothing line in front of military monuments and the “Salute Me” & Purple Heart shirts are Dispicable.. They are trying to profit from the military pure & simple. No one SALUTEs basketball players, or dancers… The purple heart shirts would be a little more bearable if they donated a good portion of the profit from that shirt to wounded veteran’s groups. Check out their VET SQUAD videos on Sound Cloud.com to get an idea of how douchey they are. Titles like “Fu_ked the whole squad” and “bounce on it” real class acts

  19. It’s been well said already but to me the difference here is an upper case “Veteran” versus a lower case “veteran”. The lower case needs an additional description, such as “veteran of several Super Bowls” or “veteran of the police department”. When someone is asked are they a “Veteran”, it is assumed that they mean a Veteran of the Armed Forces, not a veteran of a basketball team or veteran croquet player. The term “Veteran” stands alone and everyone knows it means military service.

    This company, Veteran Clothing, is using the upper case “Veteran” for profit knowing full-well that much of the public will assume they are talking about military Veterans, that’s why they are using flags, memorials, and their half-witted and improper salutes. (Some of their “models” were even saluting left-handed which is the ultimate in disrespect.) I agree that if a portion of their profits went to any service related charity, such as The Fisher House or Wounded Warriors, we wouldn’t mind so much. But they don’t give a dime to any charity have been downright rude and condescending to anyone that has suggested it. (Read their so-called apology.) They clearly don’t have anyone on staff that is or was in the military, otherwise they wouldn’t be making so many mistakes with things like the US flag or salutes.

    This is a free country and people are free to make a living, create a product and try to sell it. I personally won’t buy anything from them and I don’t think any self-respecting service member (Veteran) would either. I don’t need to wear a T-shirt that says “Salute Me!” I wore some gold & silver insignia on my collar that did that just fine.

  20. Regardless of what Websters or Dictionary.com might say, the word Veteran in America easily and most often applies to the US Military, not dance, not business, etc. These knuckleheads knew that, and tried to use that to their advantage. Their clothing even has military fashioned logos, so they knew what they were doing. Now they are simply tap dancing, which is fitting for a veteran of dance… Veteran, in American is clearly tied to the military. Veterans day is about the military period…. They should be ashamed, and get their asses kicked.

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