Veterans Day began in Alabama 75 years ago
Published 4:00 pm Friday, October 28, 2022
From 1918 until 1947, the United States of America, like many of its Allies, celebrated Armistice Day. The holiday marked the anniversary of the armistice, or the cessation of hostilities, between the countries allied in World War I and their last remaining foe, Germany. The armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 and was celebrated then and in following years.
World War I was believed at the time to be the “war to end all wars.” Sadly, that was not the case.
After World War II, veteran’s groups across the country began to talk about a day to honor all veterans. World War II veteran Raymond Weeks, a former Alabama student, organized the first Veterans Day in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947.
The idea of a national Veterans Day had been proposed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1946. As President, he established it as a federal holiday in 1954. A National Veteran Award was established in Birmingham in 1954.
President Ronald W. Reagan honored Mr. Weeks with the Presidential Citizen’s Medal in a White House ceremony in 1982. The origin of Veterans Day beginning in Alabama was confirmed by a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate in 2012.
Covington Veterans Foundation has partnered with Patriotism in Action, a program of Life Leaders Institute, which promotes the character traits in bold from the list of 25 traits mandated in Alabama schools since 1995 – courage, patriotism, citizenship, honesty, fairness, respect for others, kindness, cooperation, self-respect, self-control, courtesy, compassion, tolerance, diligence, generosity, punctuality, cleanliness, cheerfulness, school pride, respect for the environment, patience, creativity, sportsmanship, loyalty, and perseverance.
They have developed a lesson plan for teaching 10 of those traits used by Weeks when he led the effort of a national holiday. The plan is available on the Life Leaders Institute website, lifeleadersinsitute.org.
CVF has presented framed posters celebrating Alabama’s role in establishing Veterans Day to every school in Covington County and to each incorporated town or city in the county. Additional posters also are available at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce.
CVF encourages businesses to display the posters and spread the word. Help us celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Veterans Day beginning in Alabama!
We also hope you will take time to drive or walk through Andalusia and notice the 505 veterans tribute banners on display. You also are invited to participate in other community events honoring veterans, including the annual Veterans Day parade set for 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, and the program following at the Covington Veterans Monument behind Andalusia City Hall.
— John Vick