The first celebration using the term Veterans Day occurred in Birmingham, Ala., in 1947. Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran, organized “National Veterans Day,” which included a parade and other festivities, to honor all veterans. The event was held on November 11, then designated Armistice Day. Later, President Eisenhower signed a bill from Congress that would change Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Local parades and ceremonies are now annual events celebrated nationwide on November 11.
Veterans Day at the American Village is centered around honoring veterans and recognizing their service to our Nation. On Washington’s Birthday in 2014, the National Veterans Shrine and Register of Honor was dedicated. This beautiful building is patterned after historic Carpenters Hall of Philadelphia, the meeting place of the first Continental Congress. A historic marker at Carpenters Hall says, “Within these walls, Henry, Hancock and Adams inspired the delegates of the Colonies with nerve and sinew for the toils of war.” The National Veterans Shrine was built to inspire citizens with the stories of our veterans who have borne the burden of the toils of war and keeping the peace. In the Foyer of the Veterans Shrine you will see prominently displayed two sentences from the July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence. The first is the more familiar: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” The second sentence you will see is a solemn resolve: “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” This was and is the high price of liberty: the necessity to pledge one’s life, fortune, and sacred honor.
To date, over 4,000 men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces have been honored by inclusion in the Veterans Register of Honor. To find out how to include a veteran in your family, visit www.veteransregisterofhonor.com. This project of the American Village is without charge. You’re invited to honor veterans with American Village on November 11, 2022. To find the full schedule of events for the day, visit www.americanvillage.org. †