A Case of Misinformation and Hurt Feelings that happened because we do not teach 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. Grandmother (Barbara Weeks Minor) was understandably upset that this teaching could occur at an Alabama school and called us 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 to fix 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 4th grade 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. The immediate problem was fixed. Yet, Alabama must own the problem caused by not teaching this national history in a powerful way so others still claim status as the founder. Kansas played an important role advancing the national movement though Alabama started this work.
Solution: 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. Life Leaders welcomes more invitations to work with State Education as well as individual schools and teachers until sustainable lesson plans and processes are in place.