KINDERHOOK NY (12/03/2010)(readMedia)-- The New York National Guard honored the man who gave the English language the term OK during a ceremony here Dec. 3 marking the birth of President Martin Van Burean.
Brig. Gen. Anthony German, the Chief of staff for the New York Air National Guard, was joined by New York Army National Guard Chaplain (Capt.) Glen Lightfoot, an Honor Guard of Army National Guard Soldiers, local officials and school children in honoring the Eighth President, who called Kinderhook his home.
Van Buren, the first president who was never a British subject, was born on Dec. 5, 1782 in Kinderhook and died there on July 24, 1862.
In his remarks, German noted Van Buren's long political career in New York and national politics. Along with serving as President, Van Buren was a New York State Senator, New York Attorney General, United States Senator, Secretary of State and Vice President. Thomas Jefferson was the only other American who has ever served as Secretary of State, Vice President and President.
Van Buren's nickname was Old Kinderhook because of his hometown.
During the 1836 campaign Van Buren backers formed "OK Clubs" to promote their candidate. If it was OK it was alright for Van Buren backers.
The other story for the introduction of OK says it came from Van Buren's habit of scrawling his nickname's initials-OK-on papers he approved of. If it a paper was OK for the president then it was OK for his staff.