Veterans Day Founding History, Character, Leadership Education

Parade banner donated to National Veterans Day by Patriotism in Action
with support from the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation.

A National Resource for
Teachers, Students, Speakers for
Veterans Organizations and Civic Clubs…

…to educate America, adding the “Who, When, Where, and Why”
in Veterans Day Education and Events

Video: National Veterans Day Founded in Alabama
(NEW RELEASE November 2018!)

Pres. Reagan Honors National Veterans Day Founder Raymond Weeks
of Alabama on national television 1982.

Life Leaders created this short video for your use in classrooms, veterans events, and civic organizations, and to accompany the handouts and other resource materials found on this page. Video contents and approximate times (Total time: 4 minutes 31 seconds):

  • Eisenhower-Weeks photo (1946) endorsing “National Veterans Day 1947” (0:12)
  • Video clip of Reagan honoring Weeks, the “driving force” for America’s Veterans Day (2:00)–full speech below 
  • Weeks interview on White House lawn by NBC about how he and Eisenhower launched the national holiday (1:20)
  • Jeopardy TV clip: “Father of Veterans Day” (0:20)
  • Closing and call to action–US Senate Resolution restoring historical credit to Birmingham, Alabama, Weeks; Tribute to the Founder at the Weeks Memorial photo; Join the Movement; web site address to get more information (0:30)

See below for more resources you can use:
Poster, Handouts, Book, Videos, Slides.


To provide resources to educate leaders and students nationally on who, where, and why America’s National Veterans Day started.


  1. Veterans Day History, Character, and Leadership Education gets added to state and national lesson plans so all students know.
  2. Alabama advances based not only on historical but also sustainable service led by government leaders, education, veterans affairs, tourism, and commerce.
  3. Patriotism in Action of Life Leaders serves as a top national resource helping US teachers, students, and other citizens know where, how, and why National Veterans Day started connected to student character traits.

Poster: Veterans Day Founded in Alabama 1947

Posters like the one above are displayed in schools, veteran posts and chapters, city halls, tourism venues, and businesses by patriots informing members and guests National Veterans Day started in Alabama. Thanks to foundations, donors, and other partners for making this possible.

Posters have been presented to the Governor of Alabama, Superintendent of Alabama Schools, Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Alabama Tourism, and more throughout the state…plus the U.S. Senate, national offices of veteran organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans. Call for your poster.

The poster summaries the history with Eisenhower and Reagan, displays the cover of the book that tells how the national commemoration started, and lists character traits to teach in schools along with this national history. To inquire about printed posters (11×14″ or 8.5 x 11″), call (205) 670-1733. Grant funds may be in place to provide your poster at no cost or a donation.

Handout: National Veterans Day Founded in Alabama

Book: Patriotism in Action National History
of the Founding plus a Patriotic Guide

Patriotism in Action includes resources for students, teachers, and speakers.

One page lessons on each school character trait (Patriotism, Courage, Perseverance…) are in the book Patriotism in Action.

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

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

Five more character traits/values recommended by Patriotism in Action and Life Leaders Institute important to students and connected to Alabama’s history leading national movements for Veterans Day honoring Freedom of Liberty and and for Freedom of Rights:

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

Sample book excerpts (PDFs):

You can purchase the entire book here.

Top Resources

Photo courtesy Civitan International

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 (approx. 5 minutes)
  • 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, approx. 13 minutes)
  • Video of the Veterans Day Question on the TV show “Jeopardy” (approx. 20 seconds)
  • Raymond Weeks Memorial Service Commemorating the 71st Anniversary of America’s First Veterans Day at Linn Park in Downtown Birmingham
  • Dr. Dyson video of PSA by Troy TV for Veterans Day 2012 broadcast in many towns in Alabama (approx. 1 minute)
  • Troy TV show hosts Dr. Dyson telling how Veterans Day started in Alabama (approx. 6 minutes)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —WVTM 13’s Jeff Eliasoph tells you about the history of honoring military veterans in Birmingham.

Additional Resources:

Alabama Veteran of the Year Award presented to Raymond Weeks 1976

You can use the Life Leaders handout summarizing history and character traits for Veterans Day in Alabama–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.

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 book tells how Veterans Day started including where and who was leading. Read copies online, donate to schools and veteran halls, or purchase printed copies here.

Patriotism in Action receives an “Above and Beyond Award for Outstanding Service and Patriotism” from Tom Walker, Founder and CEO of The American Village. Awards presented to Col. Stretch Dunn (1943-2017) via Joan Dunn, 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.” 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.

The Veterans Shrine at the American village features research and publications provided by Life Leaders America as another vital way to educate about who and where America’s Veterans Day started.

Three Leadership Types Supporting Founding of America’s Veterans Day

  1. Driving Force: boots on the ground action provided by Raymond Weeks, family, and friends to launch in 1946-47 and sustain 40 years
  2. Positional Power: with power to decide, President Eisenhower signed the holiday into law. The Governor of Alabama and Mayor of Birmingham added their support through proclamations and staff help in 2012 to add influence leading to city and state efforts.
  3. Inspired Influence: neither the driving force or decision-maker, leaders can provide inspired influence through donations, volunteerism, and advocacy. For example,  Dr. Jack Hawkins, chancellor of Troy University, donated TROY’s TV and Radio services to create PSAs of Dr. Dyson telling this history to more Americans and his advocacy to the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, who helped fund our efforts working with the State of Alabama Governor and U.S. Senate leaders in 2012 to restore the historical record for launching the national movement for Veterans Day. 

A case of misinformation and hurt feelings for students that happened to the Weeks Family when a good teacher taught the wrong history…with a happy ending

The above photo was 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 had told classmates of their great-grandfather starting Veterans Day. Grandmother (Barbara Weeks Minor) was understandably upset this teaching could occur at an Alabama school, visited the school, then called Patriotism in Action for help. Continue Reading…

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.

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


Support our strategy with your advocacy and tax-deductible donation:

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