National Commander Message
Nancy Espinosa, Commander
Let’s celebrate veterans serving veterans
Seventy-six years ago, a World War II veteran showed the country what one person can accomplish and exemplified the very idea DAV was built on: veterans serving veterans.
In 1947, Raymond Weeks began a movement to change Armistice Day—a day that marked the end of World War I and honored its fallen—to National Veterans Day. Noting that the country already celebrated the fallen on Memorial Day, Weeks wanted to create a day to commemorate all veterans of all eras, living and deceased.
That same year, Weeks held the nation’s first Veterans Day parade in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Seven years later, in 1954, his advocacy efforts paid off when President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the 11th day of the 11th month as Veterans Day.
Now, Americans everywhere spend that day remembering and honoring military service, helping to make sure we never forget those who have served and the sacrifices they have made. Last year, I had the honor of attending the very parade Weeks founded—the oldest Veterans Day parade in the country.
But Veterans Day is more than a feel-good holiday. Recognizing service and sacrifice is the first step to ensuring veterans and their families receive the meaningful, life-changing support they were promised.
This Veterans Day, let us recognize what our community of veterans and DAV members has accomplished and continues to do for our brothers- and sisters-in-arms. Each one of us has the ability to influence a nation and change lives. Put us all together, and we are unstoppable.
Together, we help secure essential health care benefits for those made ill or injured during their service. We assist veterans in their transition back to civilian life by connecting them with employment resources and DAV’s national job fair program. We offer volunteer opportunities and donate our time and resources to our neighbors. We build community and camaraderie, welcoming veterans of all eras into our ranks. We advocate for legislation that demands better for those who signed a blank check in service to their country.
No matter what stage veterans are at, what needs they have or mission they feel called to, DAV has been and always will be here to help—every day of the year.
As we head into 2024, I ask that you recommit yourself to our organization’s mission. Find ways, no matter how big or small, to honor and support the veterans in your community. Make sure they know that you and DAV are there for them. Make a conscious effort to reach those who struggle to reach out and welcome those who historically have been forgotten.
Thank you all for your service—then and now.
If you want to find out more about the National Commander, you can find her biography here.