In the United States, we celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11 each year. Nov. 11, 1918, was the official end of World War I. Veterans Day honors all those who have served in the U.S. armed forces for their patriotism and sacrifice.

What is the Army?

There are many ways to describe the Army:

• It is our nation’s defensive force on land.

• It is the oldest of the armed services, and the largest.

• The Army also reflects the character and will of the American people. What does this mean?

Character is made up of the values and behaviors that mark a person or a group. It is how we act and expect others to act. Will is the effort or habit of acting a certain way.

Soldiers demonstrate qualities that are traditionally American – loyalty, service and courage. In this way, they reflect and model these behaviors to other citizens.

Joining the Army

When a soldier first joins the Army, he or she spends eight to nine weeks in basic training. During this time, soldiers spend long hours marching, training in the use of weapons, and learning the ways of the Army.

Jobs in the Army

Later, soldiers move on to Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training. This might last up to a year, as they learn a specific job that they’ll do within the Army. Jobs include: engineer, musician, truck driver, mechanic, clerk, chaplain — almost any job you can think of is important to the Army.

After completing MOS training, soldiers are assigned to an Army unit and work there in their specialty.

Women in the Army

Women have always served the Army. They were important in nursing, cooking and sewing as early as the American Revolution. Some women even disguised themselves as men and served in combat positions.

Dr. Mary E. Walker was the first and only woman to receive the Medal of Honor for her work as a surgeon during the Civil War.

During World War II, the Women’s Army Corps was established. Women worked as clerks, radio operators and parachute riggers, along with other jobs.

In 1973, the Army became all-volunteer. This means that people were no longer required to give military service, and the Army would be staffed by people who signed up on their own.

Today women make up 15 percent of the Army’s soldiers. They work in more than 90 percent of the specialties. They fly helicopters in combat and command artillery and other units.