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A “monumental celebration” planned for May 13th.
On the eve of the 56th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides and Anniston bus burning, people from all walks of life will be gathering together on May 13th in Anniston to celebrate the establishment of Freedom Riders National Monument and the unveiling of the National Park Service’s official Freedom Riders National Monument site signs.
As one of his last acts as president, President Obama established two National Monuments in Alabama, the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston.
Using the authority given to him by the Antiquities Act, President Obama established the monuments in order to protect the two iconic and historically significant places.
The upcoming May 13th event will feature Freedom Riders Hank Thomas, Charles Persons and Bill Harbor, special performances by area youth and the unveiling of the National Park site signs.
Reconciliation and rebirth
The Anniston Star poetically summed up the generational importance of the Freedom Riders National Monument in the following “letter to President Obama” editorial written before the president signed the proclamation creating the National Monument.
“Five years ago, on the bus burning’s 50th anniversary, Anniston’s recovery from that terrible 1961 day began in earnest. We welcomed surviving Freedom Riders, embraced their return and extended a humble hand of apology and love. It is an American story of reconciliation and rebirth, and it is ours.