A Special Salute And They Continue To Give, Thank Them

Veteran’s Day was first proclaimed in 1954 a day to be set aside to honor all men and women that have served their country in the uniform of the United States military.  The home of Veteran’s Day is Emporia, Kansas where the townspeople built the country’s first memorial honoring veterans of all wars.

In 1953, an Emporia shoe cobbler, Alvin J. King, proposed that Armistice Day, a day set aside to remember World War I veterans, be renamed Veterans Day to honor all veterans, whenever or wherever they served.

“Alvin never served a day in the military, but he was a true patriot.” “He was just a working man, kind of a local character he furnished the chickens for our dinners,” recalled the late Thomas Tholen, a World War II veteran of Company B, a unit of Army recruits from Emporia. Alvin King was too young to serve in World War I and too old to serve in World War II, but his nephew fought with Company B and King adopted the group.

The first Veterans Day was celebrated in Emporia Kansas on Nov. 11, 1953. The nation joined the next year after Alvin approached U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also of Emporia, with his proposal and Rees helped push a Veterans Day bill through Congress.  “Company B passed the hat and raised $165 to buy King a suit so he could go to Washington, D.C. He only had bib overalls,” Tholen recalls.  He may have been a man of modest means but he made a world of difference.

Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Veteran’s Day into law in 1954.  Today the nation will honor all veterans because Alvin J. King gave his time and effort to see that it happened.  Find the time today to call or write a veteran and say “Thank You” let them know they are not forgotten.

The Opining Quill offers a thank you salute to a special group of veterans, the leadership of Post #52 of the American Legion in Coventry Connecticut:

Commander………………………….. Manny Rodrigues

Senior Vice Commander…………. Yvon Turgeon

Junior Vice Commander…………. Art Choiniere

Adjutant………………………………. Bob Kramer

Finance Officer………………………. Len Theroux

Service Officer……………………….. Jack Lacek

Sergeant-At-Arms………………….. Albert Landry Jr.

These veterans continue to serve our community with pride and distinction and should be recognized for their continued contribution to the quality of life they bring to Coventry.  Thank you one and all.

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