|President Ronald Reagan recognizes Raymond Weeks as the father of Veterans Day|
Veterans Day is observed each year on November 11. The date derives from the ending day of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect). Observances began that year, focused on celebration that the horrible war was over.
Veterans Day began as Armistice Day and initially only honored veterans of World War I, or 'The Great War' as it was known before World War II. Armistice Day became Veterans Day holiday only in 1954, though before that it had been used to honor veterans of all the nation's wars. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had led Allied forces to victory in Europe in World War II, signed the bill into law. That marked the end of a long campaign to bring about that recognition.
Veterans Day is different from Memorial Day in that Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.
It took concerted action by particular veterans to bring about the federal observance of Veterans Day. The process began in 1945, as World War II came to a close. A veteran of that war, Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks went to Washington, D.C. with other veterans and met with Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of a National Veterans Day, not just one directed at World War I veterans. The government, however, did not enact the law at first, so Weeks himself led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama. He continued doing so annually until his death in 1985.
President Ronald Reagan, a World War II veteran himself, honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan and was married to a disabled World War II veteran herself, did the research that established Weeks as the "Father of Veterans Day." Not all of the coloring pages here reference World War II specifically, but on this page we expand our focus to include all brave veterans of all wars and the weapons they are tasked to use in defense of their countries, putting life and limb in danger.