5 ways to celebrate Veterans Day + honor our heroes in Birmingham

Birmingham pays respect to our veterans every year in several ways. Photo by Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

Honoring our veterans is important to the city of Birmingham. Greater Birmingham has several memorials and events in celebration of this remarkable day including the annual Veterans Day parade. Pay your respects by honoring Veterans Day in these ways.

The History of Veterans Day

The Magic City is known for our large Veterans Day parade and festivities. Did you know that Birminghamians were the first to celebrate the holiday? Yes, the first celebration was in 1947.

In World War I, Germany and the Allied nations declared a truce on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The next year, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration to honor the soldiers who fought in that war. Then, it became a federal holiday in 1938.

Here are ways you can celebrate.

Four events you can attend

1. Birmingham Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11, 1:30-4:30PM

veterans day, bham
The first Veteran’s Day celebration was in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo via Kristina O’Quinn

What better way to celebrate a holiday than a parade?

Come out to Birmingham’s 74th annual parade—the largest Veterans Day parade in the nation. In addition, it is also the longest-running parade. The parade will run from 1:30PM to 4:30PM on the north side of downtown. Here’s this year’s route:

  • Start on 18th St. and 9th Ave N.
  • South on 18th St. to 2nd Ave N.
  • East on 2nd Ave N. to 22nd St.
  • North on 22nd St. to 5th Ave N.
  • West on 5th Ave N. to 19th St.
  • North on 19th St. in front of City Hall
  • End at 19th St. and 10th Ave N.

Can’t make it? Join the city on livestream.

2. Flag Placement Ceremony at Alabama National Cemetery, Nov. 9, 10AM

Alabama National Cemetery
Families can put a flag by their loved one’s graves. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Every year the Alabama National Cemetery host a flag placement ceremony for families who’ve lost loved ones in war. This year’s flag placement will take place on Tuesday, November 9 at 10AM. The ceremony’s schedule includes:

  • Prayer
  • Pledge
  • Wreath laying
  • Moment of silence
  • Placement

Location: 3133 Highway 119, Montevallo, AL 35115

3. Veterans Day at the Zoo, Nov. 11

Enjoy family fun and animals with your loved one for FREE if you’re a veteran. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

All veterans, active and retired military, along with their dependents, get FREE admission to the Birmingham Zoo this Thursday. Not only can you get in for free but you can also take a free ride on the Red Diamond Express train.

To take part in all the fun, guests must provide proof of military service including:

  • Military ID
  • Dependent ID
  • Driver license w/ veteran’s designation

Discounted admission tickets will only be sold onsite at the Zoo’s front entrance ticket booths and cannot be combined with any other offer, discount or coupon.

4. National Veterans Award Dinner, Nov. 10

This dinner and reception honors an outstanding veteran in the United States each year who has made the greatest contribution to further the patriotic interests of veterans and veteran organizations throughout the country. This year, they are honoring those service members who have participated in the Covid 19 response.

  • Where: Sheraton Birmingham (Ballroom) | 2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N., Birmingham, AL 35203
  • When: Wednesday, November 10
  • Time: Reception – 5PM; Dinner – 6PM
  • Price: $45

Seven Veterans Memorials in Birmingham

The Greater Birmingham area has several memorials to honor our local heroes. Here are seven that you can visit for the holiday:

1. Alabama Veterans Memorial Park

Regiment of Columns at the Alabama Veterans Memorial Park. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Location: 3792 Rockhill Road, Birmingham, AL 35223

2. Kelly Ingram Park

Kelly Ingram Park veteran Memorial
Osmond Kelly Ingram was the first sailor in the United States Navy to be killed in World War I. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Location: 500 17th Street North, Birmingham, AL 35203

3. Leeds Memorial

Memorial Day 2021 Tour
Located in Leeds, this park is a solemn memorial. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Location: 1159 Montevallo Road Southwest, Leeds, AL 35094

4. Trussville Memorial

Location: 109 Parkway Drive Trussville, AL 35173

5. North Jefferson Memorial

Memorial Day memorials
North Jefferson Veterans Memorial located off Hwy 31 in Fultondale. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Location: 1425 Stouts Road Fultondale, AL 35068

6. Gardendale Memorial

Gardendale Veterans Memorial
If you’re in Gardendale, swing by the Gardendale Memorial this Veterans Day. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Location: 1304 Main Street, Gardendale, AL 35071

7. Tarrant Memorial

Memorial Day 2021 tour of memorials
Tarrant Veterans Memorial—located on Hwy. 70 near City Hall. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Location: 1636 Pinson Street, Birmingham, AL 35217


American Village in Montevallo will be honoring veterans on Veterans Day with FREE admission from 10AM-4PM. There will be a program in the Colonial Chapel at 11AM and the American Village Citizenship Trust Founder and President, Tom Walker, will lead the program. In addition to the program, visitors have the opportunity to:

  • Stroll the 188-acre campus
  • Meet patriots of the past
  • View the National Veterans shrine
  • Experience the Register of Honor
  • See the new West Wing of Independence Hall

Also, Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille is offering one complimentary pork chop dinner to U.S. veterans and active military on Thursday, November 11 from 4-10PM.

How do you plan to celebrate Veterans Day? Tag us @BhamNow on socials and let us know.

Tira Davis
Tira Davis
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