In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks had the idea to celebrate all veterans on Nov. 11 (Armistice Day), not just the ones who had served in World War I. He along with then-Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower led the way to create a nationwide holiday in remembrance of all veterans. With a strong following of supporters who believed as he did, Weeks held the first unofficial Veterans Day in 1947 in his home state of Louisiana. He continued to celebrate Veterans Day every year until his death in 1985.
With the unofficial holiday gaining traction around the country, more and more people were celebrating Nov. 11 as a day to recognize all living veterans. A U.S. representative from Emporia, Kan., saw how meaningful and important the day of recognition was to not only veterans but also civilians and launched a campaign to make Veterans Day an official holiday recognized by the federal government. He presented a bill that would redefine Armistice Day as Veterans Day, and on May 26 President Eisenhower, another Kansan, signed the bill into law. A few days later, Congress renamed made Veterans Day an official federal holiday.
We celebrate Veterans Day to honor those living soldiers who once served in defense of our country. It’s a day set aside to say thank you for the courage and sacrifice that all soldiers have shown. Knowing that we have many veterans in our community, we decided to honor them in our own special way. We hosted a brunch to give others a chance to stop in and say thank you to the staff and residents of Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor who have served in the armed forces. We had around 12 veterans join us and honor us with their presence and stories.
Veterans, thank you for your service and commitment.