Originally called Armistice Day, the annual observance was initially created to recognize the ending of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918 (in which a ceasefire was scheduled for the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month). In 1954, Veterans Day was officially inaugurated to honor all military personnel who served the country.
Much is owed to these brave servicemen and women; and beyond the day’s recognition, the metro Atlanta community is also rolling out a good time. Whether you’re a vet, currently serving, have veteran/active duty loved ones or you just want to join in on the tribute, here are some noteworthy celebrations around the city.
Horizons at Woodward Academy Veterans Day Weekend 5K
Start your Veterans Day weekend on an active note with the second annual 5K run/walk on Woodward Academy’s College Park campus. The historic private academy was actually founded in 1900 as a military school (originally named the Georgia Military Academy). Intending to honor its military history, veteran alumni and the veteran community, the race day will include a presentation from the Woodward Honor Guard and an invocation from Chaplain Katie Kilpatrick. All race proceeds will benefit the Horizons at Woodward program, which provides 135 local-area students with a tuition-free summer enrichment camp on the Woodward campus. The course is also a Peachtree Road Race qualifier.
8 a.m. (race begins at 9 a.m.). Nov. 9. $35. Woodward Academy Bull Ring, 1662 Rugby Ave., College Park. woodward.edu/5K.
Veterans Parade and Festival
Head to downtown Atlanta to catch one of the city’s largest Veterans Day celebrations. In fact, with upwards of 100 parade entries and 5,000 participants from across the state, it’s one of the largest Veterans Day parades in the country, according to Georgia Veterans Day Association President, Kevin Miller.
The 38thAnnual Atlanta Veterans Day Parade will start at 11:11 a.m. on Peachtree Street near the intersection at Baker’s Street. From there, the parade will proceed down Baker and Marietta streets and conclude near Centennial Park on Centennial Olympic Park Drive. The Veterans Day festival will follow, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Pemberton Place near the World of Coca-Cola. Promoted as a family-friendly event, guests of all ages can enjoy military vehicle displays, exhibitions and live country and rock music from the 116th Army Band.
11 a.m. (parade start); 12:30-2:30 p.m. (festival). Nov. 9. Free. Peachtree Street and Baker Street, Atlanta (parade start); Pemberton Place, 126 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd. NW, Atlanta (festival). georgiaveteransday.org.
Join approximately 500 other guests for a formal night of celebration for our veterans. With a mission to honor these heroes and educate the community about military service, the ball will be emceed by Aaron Diamant from Channel 2 WSB-TV and feature speakers and presentations throughout the night. Hosted by the Georgia Veterans Day Association (who also hosts the aforementioned parade and festival), the annual gala will also entertain guests with a silent auction, dinner, dancing and a 21-piece orchestra.
6 p.m. Nov. 9. $75. Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta. georgiaveteransday.org.
Marietta Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony
Presented by the Kiwanis Club of Marietta and the City of Marietta, the 15th annual Veterans Day parade will include five local high school marching bands and several high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs. The parade will set off from the Roswell Street Baptist Church and end in Marietta Square, which will host the Veterans Day ceremony.
11 a.m. (parade start); 12:00 p.m. (ceremony). Nov. 11. Free. Roswell Street Baptist Church, 774 Roswell St. NE, Marietta (parade start); Marietta Square, 50 Park Square, Marietta (ceremony). mariettakiwanis.org.
Cobb Wind Symphony Veterans Concert
Celebrate our veterans while supporting the kick-off of the Cobb Wind Symphony’s 20th anniversary performance season. The symphony is a community ensemble of more than 100 adult musicians from the metro Atlanta area, several of whom are veterans. The free concert will feature 11 selections, including the “Star Spangled Banner,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and the official anthems of all five military branches. And as a new addition to their ninth annual veterans show, the Michael O’Neal singers will join the symphony for three selections.
3 p.m. Nov. 10. Free. Lassiter Concert Hall, 2601 Shallowford Road, Marietta. cobbwindsymphony.org.
Veterans Day Tribute in Sandy Springs
For the official holiday on Monday, head to Sandy Springs for their 10th annual ceremony. The event will feature a keynote speech from U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Boulee , a former army captain and founder of the DeKalb’s Veterans Treatment Court. Former Channel 2 WSB-TV anchor, U.S. Army veteran and Sandy Springs resident John Pruitt will emcee the tribute, which will also include a live performance from the 116th Army Band Quintet.
11:30 a.m. Nov. 11. Free. City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. 770-206-2022, citysprings.com.
COMPLIMENTARY MUSEUM AND ATTRACTION ADMISSIONS (with proper military identification)
Center for Civil and Human Rights
Sunday and Monday, veterans will receive free admission to the museum. Accompanying family members will be offered 20 percent off of their admission.
Sunday. Free for veterans/active duty personnel at the box office.
Center for Civil and Human Rights, 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. NW, Atlanta. 678-999-8990, civilandhumanrights.org.
As a part of their year-round programming, Georgia Aquarium offers Military Mondays, which gives free admission to active duty military. This Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the aquarium is extending free admission to veterans as well—along with 30 percent reduced admission to their family members.
Every Monday. Free for veterans/active duty personnel. Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta. georgiaaquarium.org.
Veterans Day Commemoration at the Atlanta History Center
Coinciding with the World War I armistice, the annual Atlanta History Center program will begin their commemoration on Monday at 11 a.m. In addition to the ceremonial playing of the anthem and presentation of the colors, the program will include a keynote address from new Georgia Veteran’s Hall of Fame inductee Rear Admiral Wendi B. Carpenter, U.S. Navy (Ret). The center is offering veterans/active duty military and up to five of their family members free admission. Guests will also be invited to learn more about the Center’s Veterans History Project, a collection of video and audio interviews from American war veterans.
11 a.m. Nov. 11. Free of veterans/active duty personnel and family members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta. 404-814-4000, atlantahistorycenter.com.
The zoo is welcoming veterans and active duty military members for a complimentary day of fun and exploration. Up to six accompanying guests of each veteran will be offered $4 off admission.
Nov. 11. Free for veterans/active duty personnel. Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-9453, zooatlanta.org.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.