Veterans Day Founding Education

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

America’s Web Page for
Teachers, Students, Media, Historians, Speakers for Veterans Organizations and Civic Clubs…

National History – Character Traits for Students – Leadership Lessons

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

Summary: fewer than 5% of Americans know where and when Veterans Day started. The solution: lesson plans taught in schools each November supported by civic club presentations, media news and human interest stories, and mention at school assemblies and Veterans Day events. It’s part of history, character, and leadership education, plus honoring veterans. Educational leaders, this depends on you–we want to help you succeed!

See also our Raymond Weeks page!

Video: National Veterans Day Founded in Alabama
(NEW RELEASE 11-2018!)

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

Life Leaders 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 (2:00)
  • Weeks interview on White House lawn by NBC TV Channel 13 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 (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)

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 when 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 leaders in education, government, veterans affairs, tourism, and commerce before the World Games.
  3. 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.

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 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 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)422-6484. Grants may be in place to provide your poster at no cost.

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 adopted by Alabama supported by this history:

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

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

Sample book excerpts (PDFs) in Patriotism In Action:

You can order the entire book here.

Top Resources You Can Use

Photo courtesy Civitan International (also founded in Birmingham)

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:

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 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.

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. 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 ssistance 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:

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