By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
November 11, 2012 was not always Veterans Day. It was originally ‘Armistice Day’. The day that the nation remembered the end of “The War to End All Wars” (World War I). Alas, 17 million dead and 20 million wounded did not quench the world’s thirst for war any more than the development of atomic weapons at the end of World War II did. 21 years after ‘The Great War’ ended an even greater war began.
Historians now estimate that the number of World War II dead could actually be as high as 72 million.
U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia said in a written statement,
“As World War II ended with the defeat of the Axis powers, Birmingham’s Raymond Weeks, a Navy veteran, began a new mission that would define the rest of his life: ensuring that the service and sacrifices of all of America’s men and women in uniform would not be forgotten.” Rep. Bachus continued, “In 1945, the concept of a National Veterans Day became fixed in his mind. In 1946, he personally took a petition and a proposed program, ‘National Veterans Day 1947,’ urging the creation of a national holiday to honor all veterans to General
Dwight Eisenhower, who was then the Army Chief of Staff. In 1954, then-President Eisenhower signed legislation formally establishing November 11 as Veterans Day.”
Rep. Bachus said, “The history of Veterans Day is a lesson in character education that can be used to inspire students to learn “living history” from our veterans. Alabama teaches character traits daily, including those illuminated by the history of the founding of Veterans Day – patriotism, courage, perseverance, loyalty and citizenship. Raymond Weeks demonstrated these qualities in his pursuit of the creation of a National Veterans Day and stands as an example of good citizenship for all students and every generation.”
Of course since World War II, America’s armed forces have seen extensive service in the Korean War of the 1950s, the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s, the First Gulf War of the 1990s, the Balkan wars of the 1990s, the Iraq War of the 2000s, and the Afghanistan War that has been ongoing since 2001, plus numerous other conflicts and actions stretching from Panama, to the Philippines, to Libya, to Grenada, to Lebanon, to Somalia, the Persian Gulf, the Dominican Republic, etc.
Congressman Bachus said, “It is important to remember both what we honor and who we honor on Veterans Day. We honor soldiers and their devotion to freedom, yes. But we reflect that these are people around us who have willingly and unselfishly served on our behalf: fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, grandparents, a favorite uncle or cousin, a high school buddy or college roommate, a best friend or a childhood playmate.”
There will be a Veterans Day Parade in Birmingham on Monday to honor America’s veterans at 1:30 pm Monday. The parade will start at the intersection of Eighth Avenue North and 19th Street. The parade will proceed South on 19th Street to Fifth Avenue North. The parade will then turn East onto Fifth Avenue and will down Fifth Avenue to 22nd Street. The parade will go South on 22nd Street to Second Avenue North. The parade will then go West on Second Avenue to 18th Street. The parade will then follow 18th Street North to Sixth Avenue North.
Congressman Spencer Bachus represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. The voters of the 6th District have just reelected Rep. Bachus to his eleventh term in the Congress.