Whereas: Stories from the People’s House

Edition for Educators—Veterans and Congress

Congressman Wright Patman With Veterans/tiles/non-collection/1/11-10-patman-pa2011_07_0030.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives 
About this object
Representative Wright Patman (center) receives a petition from World War I veterans seeking promised bonus payments as the Great Depression worsened.
“They went to battle that free government might live, that world civilization might continue, and human happiness exist. The destiny of mankind was entrusted to them, and they did not betray that trust.”
—Representative Edward Eslick of Tennessee

Featured Historical Highlights

Granting House Floor Privileges to a 108-year-old Revolutionary War Veteran
February 10, 1870
On this date, the House of Representatives accorded a rare honor to Revolutionary War veteran John Kitts, granting him House Floor privileges for the day.

President Woodrow Wilson’s Joint Session Address Regarding the World War I Armistice
November 11, 1918
On this date, President Woodrow Wilson dramatically announced to a Joint Session of Congress, “The war thus comes to an end.”

A Bonus for World War I Veterans
May 2, 1922
On this date, a Hearst newspaper truck from New York City delivered a petition to the Capitol bearing more than one million signatures in support of a bonus for World War I veterans.

World War I Veterans Bonus Bill
June 15, 1932
On this date, by a vote of 211 to 176, the House passed a $2.4 billion World War I veterans bonus bill sponsored by Wright Patman of Texas.

The Veterans Day (Armistice Day) Holiday
November 11, 1978
On this date, the nation returned to celebrating Veterans Day (Armistice Day) on November 11.

Featured People

Frank Tejeda of Texas
Frank Tejeda served slightly more than two terms as a Texas Representative in the U.S. House before his life was cut short by a severe illness. Tejeda was a decorated U.S. Marine with a long and influential career in the Texas state legislature when he arrived in Washington. Tejeda’s military service, in which he specialized in national security, greatly influenced his career in politics. His humble beginnings led to his desire to improve conditions in his majority-Hispanic district.

Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts
As a nursing volunteer and advocate for veterans across the country during and after World War I, Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts was thrust into political office when her husband, Representative John Jacob Rogers, died in 1925. During her 35–year House career, the longest tenure of any woman to date, Rogers authored legislation that had far–reaching effects on American servicemen and women, including the creation of the Women’s Army Corp and the GI Bill of Rights.

Featured Oral History

The Bonus March
House Page Glenn Rupp provides an eyewitness account of the World War I Veterans’ Bonus March in 1932.

Glenn Rupp, Page, U.S. House of Representatives Interview recorded April 28, 2005 Transcript (PDF)

Featured Objects in the House Collection

Congresswoman in Favor of Bonus Payment
Representative Virginia Jenckes of Indiana is applauded following a speech at a Bonus Expeditionary Army camp, in which she advocated for early payment of money promised to veterans of World War I.

Bonus Army Protest at the Capitol
The Bonus Expeditionary Army gathered at the Capitol in early July 1932 to protest Congress’ adjournment before passage of veterans' bonus payment legislation.

See the Portraits in the House Collection for Members who chaired the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Speaker Rayburn with War Veterans/tiles/non-collection/1/11-10-rayburn-2008_058_003.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives 
About this object
Speaker Sam Rayburn met with two Korean War veterans outside the House Gallery on April 4, 1951, following a rare floor speech warning of potential expansion in that conflict.

Featured House Records

Preliminary Inventories for Special, Select, and Joint Committees
Explore the preliminary inventory for the Records of the House Select Committee on Missing Persons in Southeast Asia, 94th Congress (PDF) for more information on Congress’ role in locating POWs and those missing in action following the Vietnam War.

See preliminary inventories for other Special, Select, and Joint Committees.

Featured Blog Posts

“Some of Our Boys Died Last Night”
On June 6, 1944, Allied forces commenced the invasion of Western Europe known today as D-Day. Chaplain Reverend James Shera Montgomery opened the June 7 meeting of the House with a prayer that reflected both the nation’s concerns and hopes.

Edition for Educators – Congress in Wartime
The Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war and maintain and fund the armed forces. From the harrowing night in August 1814 when war arrived on the Capitol’s doorstep to the war on terror, the House and its Members have been key players in wartime decisions.

This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.