American Village to host Veterans Day event Friday

Published 8:34 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – American Village in Montevallo will celebrate all veterans at its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 10 with a special Veterans Day Salute.

The Salute will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include a variety of family-friendly activities. At 11 a.m., a service will be held at the Colonial Chapel, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Veterans Shrine.

“We’ll be having a service in remembrance and thanksgiving for our veterans,” said American Village’s communication officer Melanie Poole. “Then for the family events you can meet the patriots of the past and tour the National Veterans Shrine.”

The National Veterans Shrine is a building at American Village modeled after Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia that honors veterans from Alabama both past and present.

“The Shrine combines large-scale paintings, sculpture and technology to tell the stories of those veterans,” Poole said. “It answers questions like: ‘Who are our veterans? What did they do for us and for our country? And what do we owe them in return?’”

Visitors will also have the chance to learn about the history of Veterans Day itself and how it became a national holiday.

Veterans Day initially began as ‘Armistice Day’ which commemorated the cessation of hostilities with Germany after WWI. However, it was not until 1945 that Veterans Day became the holiday we know it today.

In 1945, after serving in the American Navy during WWII, Birmingham native Raymond Weeks came up with the idea that Armistice Day should be set aside to honor veterans of all wars, not just WWI. 

The very next year, Weeks wrote and personally delivered his petition for a “National Veterans Day 1947” to then Army Chief of Staff, General Dwight Eisenhower. The first Veterans Day was subsequently held in Birmingham in 1947, but it would not be until seven years later, in 1954, that President Eisenhower would officially rechristen ‘Armistice Day’ ‘Veterans Day’ and made it into a national holiday honoring all veterans of the military.

American Village will be honoring that rich history and more with this year’s Veterans Day Salute, and Poole promises that visitors can expect a good time.

“It’s a beautiful campus,” Poole said. “We have over 20 historically inspired buildings and a beautiful picnic area, and to spend the day with us is totally free.”