Following WWI, the United States commemorated November 11th as Armistice Day. The date was significant since WWI fighting ended on November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour, 11th month, 11th day). However, in 1947, a WWII veteran from Birmingham, Alabama, was the driving force in his community to organize this country’s first Veterans Day celebration. Raymond Weeks believed that all veterans should be recognized – not only those who perished, as was the case for Memorial Day. The idea took root, and eventually, in 1954, Congress passed a bill designating November 11th as Veterans Day.
This Veterans Day marks the 75th anniversary of that first celebration. To honor all veterans, starting Thursday, we are offering free access* to Fold3® on Veterans Day weekend (November 10-13). We invite you to explore our Fold3® collections, find records related to your veteran, and create a Memorial for our Honor Wall. These Memorials contain heroic stories of service and sacrifice and can be shared with others. You can attach military records, stories, journals, and photographs in one place to create a lasting tribute to the service of your veteran. There is no subscription required to view these Memorials. For tips on how to create a Memorial, click here.
One example of a Memorial is that of Sgt. Daniel P. Matthews, who served in the Korean War. Dan and his twin brother Dave were from Van Nuys, California, and enlisted together in 1951. Dan served in the Marines, while his brother Dave served in the Navy. Dave recalled that each time a round was fired from his Navy ship, he prayed it would keep Dan safe. On March 28, 1953, at Vegas Hill, Korea, Dan charged an enemy machine gun emplacement. The enemy assault was preventing the extraction of a wounded Marine. Though seriously wounded by enemy fire, Dan continued the charge until mortally wounded. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Dave accompanied his brother’s body home, and the heartbroken family laid Dan to rest in Sylmar, California.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans and their families. Take advantage of free access to our Fold3® records collections this Veterans Day and explore nearly 600 million records from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, and more. Discover incredible details about the courageous men and women who have served to defend and protect our country. Search Fold3® today.
*Access to the records on Fold3® will be free until 13 Nov 2022 at 11:59 p.m. MT. Registration required. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view records using a paid Fold3® membership.