November 11, 1947
Birmingham hosted the first Veterans Day celebration in the United States. World War II veteran Raymond Weeks organized the event to honor all veterans on Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of World War I. Local festivities included a parade, which continues today as the nation’s longest and largest Veterans Day parade. Weeks served as the director of the National Veterans Day Celebration for 38 years and, in 1982, received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Ronald Reagan. The president described Weeks as a person who “devoted his life to serving others, his community, the American veteran and his nation.” The holiday officially replaced Armistice Day in 1954.
Read more at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.