America is honoring its veterans as Veterans Day approaches. The U.S. military continues its centuries old tradition of defending this country and its interest around the world. On November 11th we honor those soldiers who have fought for us and those who continue that service this very day.
Birmingham’s National Veterans Day event is the oldest and largest Veterans Day celebration in the country.
National Veterans Day in Birmingham honors and salutes those men and women who have served their country as members of the armed services as well as those currently wearing the uniform of the active, reserve, and National Guard forces.
The parade and event was started in the 1940s by Raymond Weeks.
100 years ago, the Armistice was signed ending the “War to End All Wars”…..It did not end war, but for decades November 11 would be remembered as Armistice day. All the veterans of World War I are dead now, but their memory and their example remains. Their children fought in World War II and Korea, their grandchildren fought in Vietnam, their great grandchildren fought in Panama, Somalia, Desert Storm, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They have great great grandchildren on duty today fighting the Taliban, terrorists, and ISIS in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria and in posts around the world. Eventually the day that the Armistice was signed ending “The Great War” would become the day that Americans honors her veterans. Birmingham was where Armistice first became Veterans Day and it is still home to the oldest Veterans Day Parade in the country.
Following World War II, Birmingham WWII veteran Raymond Weeks led a delegation to the Pentagon where they asked Army Chief of Staff Dwight D Eisenhower to create a day honoring all of the nation’s veterans. In 1954, as President Eisenhower (R) he signed legislation formally establishing November 11th as Veterans Day. Weeks led the first Veterans Day Parade in Birmingham in 1947 and led the parade every year until his death in 1985. Meeks was honored in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan (R).
The Veterans Day Parade in Birmingham begins on Monday at 1:30 pm. The parade will have a new route this year due to downtown construction. This year the parade will be around Railroad Park. The parade will start at: Richard Arrington Blvd. & 1st Ave S. then will turn right on 3rd Ave S., turn right on 14th St. S., turn right on 1st Ave S. and the parade will end at 1st Ave S. & 20th St. South.
The parade is free and open to the public. The Raymond Weeks memorial service will be in Linn Park at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. At 5:30 there will be a reception at the Sheraton Hotel for distinguished visitors and honored guests Sunday. It will be followed at 6:30 p.m. with the National Veterans Award Dinner. Tickets cost $45. On Monday a Veterans Memorial Service will be held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent at 8:30 a.m. The World Peace Luncheon will be at 10:30 a.m. at the Sheraton. Tickets cost $35.
To learn more about National Veterans Day in Birmingham: http://www.nationalveteransday.org
Monday is a federal holiday. Banks, government offices, most schools, and some businesses will be closed.