Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day and the Emporia connection

Emporia shoe repairman, Alvin J. (Al) King, and his wife Gertrude, helped raise a nephew, John E. Cooper, who was serving as part of the Third U.S. Army in Germany when he was killed in action on December 20, 1944.

Grief over the young man's death started King looking for a way to honor not only his nephew but all veterans who fight during wars and serve during peace.

King began his campaign to change an existing national holiday, Armistice Day, to Veterans Day. He gained support from U.S. Representative Ed Rees of Emporia who agreed to take King's idea to Washington, D.C. The bill passed the House and Senate and President Eisenhower signed the bill to establish Veterans Day as a national holiday.

The nation held its first Veterans Day on November 11, 1954.

Fifty years later, the city was declared the Official Founding City of Veterans Day by Congress on October 31, 2003. Former Convention & Visitors Bureau director Liz Martell and the All Veterans Tribute committee did the bulk of the work to gain Emporia this designation.

In October, "Emporia, The Founding City of Veterans Day" was voted one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs.

Just a little information that helps you "get Kansas."

KE #2 Marci Penner

1 comment:

Honeymoon bed breakfast said...

Veterans Day is an annual American holiday honoring military veterans. A federal holiday, it is usually observed on November 11. However, if it occurs on a Sunday then the following Monday is designated for holiday leave, and if it occurs Saturday then either Saturday or Friday may be so designated