Veterans Day Founding Education

America’s Most Complete Web Page for Veterans Day Founding Education—Who, Where, When
The National Commemoration of All Veterans Began (History & Character Traits)

America’s Veterans Day Started in Alabama Education Campaign!

Use and enjoy these complimentary materials online. For printed copies, some may be free and others may need a donation.

For assistance, Dr. David Dyson, National Veterans Day Historian and author, Patriotism in Action: Email David at Life Leaders Institute

New Veterans Day Handbill with Message!

Handbill with message to proclaim at Veterans Day programs in Alabama

Get your posters or learn more: (include name, phone number to call you)

Free Resources for Teachers, Speakers, Authors, Journalists for
Who-When-Where America’s Veterans Day Started

Haley Minor, great-granddaughter of National Veterans Day Founder Raymond Weeks, reads Veterans Day Founding Education intro paragraph provided by Patriotism in Action, adapted to fit the program at Simmons Middle School
Parade banner (3′ x 12′) donated to National Veterans Day by Patriotism in Action of Life Leaders America with funding by the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation.

Mission of this Page and Program

To provide resources to educate leaders and students nationally on the
who-when-where of how America’s National Veterans Day started.


  1. Veterans Day History and Character Education gets added to state and national lesson plans so all students know.
  2. Patriotism in Action provides free online resources helping US teachers, students, historians, and media professionals know where, how, and when National Veterans Day started–connected to helping students learn and develop character traits.
  3. Alabama advances known as the leader of two national movements–Veterans Day and Civil Rights led by leaders in education, veterans affairs, tourism, and commerce.

Problem: fewer than 5% of Americans know where and by whom Veterans Day started. Students are missing an inspiring historical lesson plus the character traits lessons associated. Alabama is losing national brand, tourism, events, and revenue. Alabama is losing an educational opportunity to inspire more students by showing how one from their state and their schools took action on an idea of national importance.

Solution: lesson plans taught in schools each November to at least one grade, mention at school assemblies and Veterans Day events annually, civic club presentations, media news and human interest stories; posters citing “Veterans Day Founded in Alabama” in schools, tourism venues, veterans halls, and by others who tell the story of freedom, patriotism, and Alabama. The founding of Veterans Day after WW II is part of history, character, and leadership education, plus honoring veterans.

Implementation: educational leaders, this depends on you to require and reward–Patriotism in Action and National Veterans Day want to help you succeed and provide the web site and resources you can use: poster, book, video, slides, handouts….

Poster: Veterans Day Started in Alabama 1947

Poster Progress

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 helping us make 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 us if you want posters printed and mailed or delivered for a donation of $1 each (if we have a grant, we may be able to provide these at no cost). Or, you can print from the PDF provided at no charge. All you have to do is let us know of your uses so we can use your example to encourage others.

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″) to use or donate to others:

Grants may be in place to provide your poster at no cost, especially if for display in an educational facility, tourism office or venue, veteran hall or meeting place. Or, we can print inexpensively or send art to you to print what you need.

For Classrooms and Presentations

Video: Reagan honors the “Father of Veterans Day”
and Weeks tells how it started to NBC TV on the White House Lawn

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

Patriotism in Action of Life Leaders America created this short video (4 minutes 31 seconds) 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 (approximate times):

  • Eisenhower-Weeks photo (1946) endorsing “National Veterans Day 1947” (0:12)
  • Reagan honoring Weeks (of Birmingham) as the “driving force” for America’s Veterans Day 1982 (2:00)
  • Weeks interview on White House lawn by NBC TV Channel 13 about how he and Eisenhower launched the national holiday 1982 (1:20)
  • Jeopardy TV clip: “Father of Veterans Day” (0:20)
  • Closing and call to action–US Senate Resolution (2012) restoring historical credit to Birmingham, Alabama, Weeks; Tribute to the Founder at the Weeks Memorial photo; Join the Movement; web site address to get information (0:30)

Key supporting documents and video from the White House:

Newspaper Clipping from Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Digital Library Collections Presentation of Presidential Citizens Medal to Raymond Weeks 11/11/1982

NBC TV News story about Veterans Day and Raymond Weeks

See below for more resources you can use:
Handouts, Book, US Senate Resolution, Slides.

Handout: National Veterans Day Founded in Alabama

Download handout (PDF). Call or write for the most recent update at no cost to you so you can print handouts for your class, civic club, or other presentation.

Handout for In-Class Assignment

Student Handout – Page 1 History to Know; Page 2 Character Traits to Implement (PDF)
We can provide the latest edition and more materials you can use and we can help edit to fit your plan.

Book: Patriotism in Action
National History of the Founding plus a Patriotic Guide to Holidays and Traditions

Patriotism in Action includes information for students, teachers, speakers.

One page lessons on each of 10 character traits (5 from the Alabama list) are in the book Patriotism in Action. For more, visit our Character Traits initiative page.

Five of 25 character traits adopted by Alabama supported by this history:

  1. Patriotism: the founder cared so much for his country and those who served he took action to create a national holiday to honor veterans of all wars and remember the value of world peace.
  2. Courage: the founder and team showed courage to travel to Washington, DC to see the future president of the United States to petition his support for a national holiday to honor all veterans and to start this observance in their home state of Alabama.
  3. Perseverance: the founder and team persevered nine years from concept in 1945 until Veterans Day was signed into law in 1954 as a federal holiday by President Eisenhower.
  4. Loyalty: the founder served this calling for 40 years–from concept to his death.
  5. Citizenship: President Reagan honored Founder Raymond Weeks on national television on Veterans Day 1982 with the Presidential Citizens Medal for service to his country as the “driving force” for Veterans Day–“your country is mighty proud of what you have done.”

Five more character traits/values recommended by Life Leaders America important to students and connected to Alabama’s history leading national movements for Veterans Day honoring Freedom of Liberty and Freedom of Rights–so we have Freedom to Flourish:

  1. Freedom: We honor Freedom of Liberty through Veterans Day. If American had lost WW II to Hitler, we would not have had a Civil Rights Movement. Because we have Freedom of Liberty and Rights, we have Freedom to Flourish. How do you flourish? Plan and Lead your Life.
  2. Peace: The original purpose of National Veterans Day included focus on world peace, including a World Peace Dinner with General Omar Bradley as the first speaker in 1947. General Eisenhower sent a telegram to Birmingham expressing the importance of world peace and his hope what Alabama was doing [honoring veterans and world peace] would spread throughout the country.
  3. Honor: we added this trait to the list because of a veteran who served in the Marines and Army. He told of his service in Vietnam including obeying some of his orders because of “honor for his country and his commanding officer.”
  4. Trust: we added this trait because of Col. “Stretch” Dunn (1943-2017). When writing the book, Professionalism Under Stress: Lessons for Professionalism, Stress, and Gunfighting in Military and Civilian Life (Dunn and Dyson), Col. Dunn emphasized the importance of earning and keeping trust in military and civilian service.
  5. Leadership: ethical action occurs because of good leadership–personal, interpersonal, team, organizational, and societal. Col. Dunn brought to the book recollections that the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) begins preparing cadets with personal leadership. Life Leaders focusing on best-self leadership aka personal leadership because without it leadership lessons “stand on sand.”

For more, visit our Character Traits initiative page.

Sample book excerpts (PDFs) in Patriotism In Action:

You can order the entire book here.

US Senate Resolution that Proves Veterans Day Started in Alabama

U.S. Senate Veterans Day Resolution 2012 (PDF)
for your viewing or printing to use in education
Alabama Governor Proclamation
City of Birmingham Mayor Proclamation

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Origins of Veterans Day (PDF)

Photo courtesy Civitan International (also founded in Birmingham)

See also our Raymond Weeks page to learn about the “driving force”
and our Advance Alabama page!

More 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 (1 minute)
  • Troy TV show hosts Dr. Dyson telling how Veterans Day started in Alabama (6 minutes)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —WVTM 13’s Jeff Eliasoph tells about the history of honoring military veterans in Birmingham. In the photo: Chaplain Duke Martin and Col. Bob Barefield (Retired)

Additional Resources:

The American Village hosted two conferences for teachers 2017, and Life Leaders gladly accepted to help serve. 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.

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).

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.

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. Character traits: patriotism, courage, perseverance, loyalty, citizenship
  2. Positional Power: with power to decide, General Eisenhower endorsed Weeks and Birmingham, then signed the holiday into law after becoming President Eisenhower. 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: the driving force and decision-maker are key, though other citizen-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 facilities and staff services to create PSAs of Dr. Dyson telling this history to more Americans. Dr. Hawkins proactively advocated the work of Life Leaders 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. Other leaders have made a difference advancing this cause: Col. Barefield, National Veterans Day leaders, Weeks Family, and more. If you value a result, you can do the work or donate to support others to do the work.

A case of misinformation and hurt feelings for students that happened to the Weeks Family when a good teacher used “bad” information teaching…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, which claimed Veterans Day started in Kansas in 1953-54 (7 years after the great-grandfather of the students pictured presented the first Veterans Day in 1947 in Birmingham).

The 10-year-old twins and great-grandchildren of Raymond Weeks were confused and embarrassed by the materials taught because they had been taught at home–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 and called Patriotism in Action for help. Continue Reading for the happy ending…

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.
  • Add character education that affects character traits development based on this history–an example of a person taking action.
  • Sponsor web and media pages for national communications.
  • Help veteran organizations inform local members and national leaders of this 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, and Freedom to Flourish….
  • Teach and speak at events offering information and assistance for educators and other leaders willing to implement.

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


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

Attend events of National Veterans Day (based in Birmingham)
including the National Veteran Award Reception and Banquet
as well as America’s oldest Veterans Day Parade.

Page about Raymond Weeks, “driving force” for America’s Veterans Day

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