A Case of Misinformation and Hurt Feelings that can happen when we do not teach and brand this national history… with a happy ending
Left: Barbara Weeks Minor (wearing her dad’s Presidential Citizens Medal presented by President Reagan) with her twin granddaughters and right: Dr. David Dyson guest-teaching the 4th grade class students and teachers about how America’s Veterans Day started in Alabama by Raymond Weeks.
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. The 10-year-old twins and great-grandchildren of the Founder Raymond Weeks were confused and embarrassed because they had been taught and told others of their great-grandfather starting Veterans Day in Birmingham in 1947. Grandmother (Barbara Weeks Minor) was understandably upset that this teaching could occur at an Alabama school and called me for help.
The teacher welcomed my call and invited me to share our facts and resources with her. I took to her our book, Patriotism in Action, the poster, and Senate Resolution, which helped her understand Alabama’s leadership role and how Kansas supported in a meaningful way seven years later.
This teacher took action and fixed this problem. She organized an event for not only her class but all 4th grade classes and invited the twins to host. Also attending were the other teachers, principal of the school, a city councilman, and a veteran. She invited me to share the corrected history restoring the legacy of Raymond Weeks and Alabama.
Barbara Weeks Minor wore her dad’s Presidential Citizens Medal and the twins showed off a t-shirt featuring our book cover featuring their great-grandfather getting honored by President Reagan.
It was a good day. We believe Alabama should teach this national history for at least a few minutes annually with an extended focus in at least one grade. In addition to showcasing veterans who served, adding the “who, where, and why” of Veterans Day starting in Alabama will serve the teachers and students as well as enrich the national branding of the State. –David