When the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham was built in 1927, a trip to the movies was an extravagant affair. With touches of gold and red velvet, the theatre was reflective of the “picture palaces” of its era. Unlike other buildings of its time, the theatre was building using a combination of steel and concrete rather than wood.
It has been said, “Only the veteran can write from experience of the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of combat.” I believe that exposure to my father gave me license to write about those Alabama men of the Rainbow Division and the memory of them. He was a very experienced combat soldier, a wounded veteran of multiple World War I battles and he was troubled; In the end he was an alcoholic veteran whose good wife left him.
Since I started speaking and writing about what was first called the Great War, I have tried to do so in the voice of a soldier. I have tried to honor the memory of World War I veterans in a dignified way, in the same way that I remember those I served with in Korea in 1952 and 1953. Some in all our wars have failed to deserve much honor and some were not very high class, admirable or successful individuals but I respect the sacrifices and service of them all. The men and women who raised their hands to volunteer in dangerous situations, even those who simply did their duty, are special. They helped this country remain free.
Following is a list of commemorations and events -- both in America and abroad -- honoring the Alabama Rainbow Soldiers.
Alabama Heritage BLOG
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