In recognition of President Woodrow Wilson’s involvement in the formation of Veterans Day, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is presenting a free Veterans Day program, open to the public, including a dramatic reading by Woodrow Wilson portrayer Judd Bankert of President Wilson’s Armistice Day address to Congress.  The program will be on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, 2009, at 11:00 a.m., the 91st anniversary of the address.  Weather permitting, the program will be held at the back of the Manse above the historic gardens.  In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held in the Woodrow Wilson Museum in the Dolores Lescure Center.  

On November 11, 1918, President Wilson announced the armistice, or temporary halt of fighting in World War I, and proclaimed that November 11 would forever be Armistice Day in the United States.  The armistice took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  The day has evolved into Veterans Day during which all veterans are remembered and honored, and, for years, the entire country observed a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.  

In addition to the program, all veterans, active military members, and their families will be entitled to free admission to the Presidential Library on that day, including guided tours of President Wilson’s Birthplace and self-guided tours of the Woodrow Wilson Museum, which includes the President’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine.  Effective November 1, the Presidential Library’s visitor hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.  

On Saturday, November 14, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will participate in the Staunton Veterans Day parade, including the President’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine, Judd Bankert portraying President Wilson, and Lilchy Huffman portraying Edith Wilson.  

Those interested in more information about the Veterans Day program or the free admission offer should contact Barbara Wimble, Manager of Visitor Services at the Presidential Library, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 106, or by email at


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He sought a neutral position for the United States and even won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Nonetheless, actions by the Central Powers (notably Germany) threatened this neutrality. Following years of attacks on American shipping and citizens on the high seas, particularly the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, public opinion began to turn. The final straw came with the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, forcing the United States to declare war on the Central Powers in April of 1917, joining the war on the side of the UK, Russia, and France.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation