Veterans Day Founding History, Character, Leadership Education

Veterans Day Banner Life Leaders
Graphic of the lead banner (12′ x 3′) at the Veterans Day Parade hosted in Birmingham since 1947 donated by Patriotism In Action thanks to a grant from the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation. Grandchildren of Founder Raymond Weeks carried the banner the first year, with great-grandchildren walking with them.


To provide resources for teachers, journalists, historians, and speakers to educate leaders and students on who, where, and why National Veterans Day started.


We improve from 1% of US citizens knowing Veterans Day was born in Birmingham so all Americans who attend school learn this inspiring national history.

Veterans Day 11×14 Poster Oct 2017 (PDF)

Posters are displayed in many schools, city halls, and veterans chapters by patriots reminding members and guests Veterans Day started here, significance to students, and why we lead.

5 character traits supported by this history adopted by Alabama and some other states:

  1. Patriotism
  2. Courage 
  3. Perseverance
  4. Loyalty
  5. Citizenship

5 more character traits/values we recommend:

  1. Freedom
  2. Peace
  3. Honor
  4. Trust 
  5. Leadership

One page lessons on each in the book Patriotism in Action.

Excerpts from Patriotism in Action:

Patriotism in Action includes resources for students, teachers, and other patriots.

Sample excerpts:

UPDATED Nov 2017 – Pres. Reagan Honors National Veterans Day Founder Raymond Weeks 1982

Weeks and Eisenhower, Nov 11, 1946
Draft program read “National Veterans Day 1947” presented by Weeks to Eisenhower a year early at The Pentagon

Top Resources for Your Use:

Veterans Day Founding Education Video Resources:

View the Veterans Day Founding Education video playlist on Life Leaders TV, including:

  • TV-Video clips of President Reagan and Raymond Weeks at the White House 1982
  • Full speech by President Reagan presenting the Presidential Citizens Medal to Raymond Weeks at the White House and more in his speech to the nation on Veterans Day 1982 (purchased from the White House)
  • Video of the Veterans Day Question on the TV show “Jeopardy”
  • Dr. Dyson video of PSA by Troy TV for Veterans Day 2012
  • Troy TV show hosts Dr. Dyson telling how Veterans Day started in Alabama

Additional Resources:

PowerPoint slides given to teachers at The American Village, updated here:

This is a resource for teachers, speakers, event planners, and others who want to inform and inspire on this national history and character traits. Sample assignments and discussion topics are included at the end. Please use this page for each presentation so you can use the latest version.

You can use the Life Leaders handout summarizing history and character traits for Veterans Day in Alabama is useful for teachers, speakers, and event planners (1 sheet, 2 pages, PDF).

The American Village hosted two conferences for teachers July 2017, and Life Leaders gladly accepted to serve this group. Dr. David Dyson presented about Veterans Day Founding History,  Character Traits, and National Branding with added incentives for student development and state strategy for branding Freedoms: Liberty, Rights, Flourish. Teachers represented schools from Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Photo by The American Village.

Eisenhower Telegram heading
Telegram of General Eisenhower

Birmingham and Alabama hosted the first national Veterans Day observance in 1947 and has been a model for the nation. We share highlights about traditional and special events to tell more of the story and offer ideas to Veterans Day organizers throughout America [excerpt from Patriotism in Action]. This seems to be the only book telling how Veterans Day started including where and who was leading. Read copies online, donate to schools and veteran halls, or purchase copies here.

Patriotism in Action receives an “Above and Beyond Award for Outstanding Service and Patriotism” from Tom Walker, founder of The American Village. Awards presented to Col. Stretch Dunn (posthumously), Col Bob and Nancy Barefield, and Dr. David Dyson. Photo: The American Village.

The American Village honored our Veterans Day Founding History Education started by our Patriotism in Action team with the “Above and Beyond Award” presented to Stretch Dunn (Joan Dunn accepting), co-founder, Patriotism in Action; Bob and Nancy Barefield, chair, Patriotism in Action; and David Dyson, founder. Also honored: Raymond Weeks (Scott Parker, grandson, accepting), founder, Veterans Day; and National Veterans Day (Mark Ryan, president, accepting). You can download the Life Leaders handout (PDF) summarizing history and character traits for Veterans Day in Alabama, which is useful for teachers, speakers, and event planners.

A case of misinformation, confusion, and hurt feelings for students that happened to the Weeks Family…with a happy ending

These photos were taken at a Hoover school event for fourth graders that happened after the teacher of the girls sent home a lesson plan she found on the Internet that Veterans Day started in Kansas in 1953 (7 years after the great-grandfather of two of the students presented the first Veterans Day in 1947 in Birmingham). The 10-year-old twins and great-grandchildren of the Founder Raymond Weeks were confused and embarrassed because they had been taught and told classmates of their great-grandfather starting Veterans Day. Grandmother (Barbara Weeks Minor) was understandably upset this teaching could occur at an Alabama school and called for help. Continue Reading…

The Veterans Shrine at the American village features some of our research and publications, providing another vital way to educate about who and where America’s Veterans Day started.

 NVA Banquet Program Page 2015.jpg.opt389x503o0,0s389x503

Handout and Program Page for Veterans Day Banquet (Click to enlarge or print PDF)

 World Peace Luncheon Program Eisenhower Telegram Peace 2015.jpg.opt389x503o0,0s389x503.jpg

Handout and Program Page for World Peace Luncheon (Click to enlarge or print PDF)

Presentations available for events and ongoing programs can adapt to include this content:

  • Launch of America’s Veterans Day led by Weeks & Alabama 1945-54
  • President Eisenhower’s approval, telegram, and leadership 1946-54
  • President Reagan honoring Weeks as the “driving force” 1982 (White House video)
  • 10 Character Traits to Teach for Veterans Day, Rights, and Freedom (5 mandated in Alabama)
  • Campaign to restore Alabama’s legacy as “driving force” for Veterans Day with US Resolution 2012
  • Resources teachers in the USA can use to teach Veterans Day History and Character Traits
  • Case for teaching why and where Veterans Day started to students in U.S. schools
  • Freedom of Liberty and Rights provides Freedom to Flourish–why and what can we do

Request a speaker for a college lecture, school event or class.

U.S. Senate Veterans Day Resolution 2012 (PDF)

Our Strategy to Help Students, Teachers, Other Patriots

  • Add the missing content on “who and where” to lesson plans so teachers will know and be able to teach this history and character education that affects character traits development.
  • Sponsor web and social media pages for national communications and impact.
  • Help veteran organizations inform local members and national leaders of this national history.
  • Help event planners with meaningful marketing of historic reasons for selecting Alabama sites such as Birthplace of Veterans Day, Cradle of Civil Rights, Freedom of Liberty and Rights Education, Public and Community Education on Patriotism, Freedom, Character Traits….
  • Teach and speak at events offering information and inspiration for educators and other leaders.

Support our strategy with your tax-deductible donation to Life Leaders:


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