The COVID-19 pandemic has caused several local Veterans Day events to be cancelled, but some are still taking place in a virtual format this year.
Veterans Day was created with the armistice that ended World War I, which called for a ceasefire in 1918 effective at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which became Veterans Day.
Here’s a look at this year’s events, adjusted due to the outbreak:
The 39th annual Georgia Veterans Day Parade, along with the Veterans Festival and Freedom Ball, have been cancelled. But in their place the Georgia Veterans Day Association, which hosts those events each year in downtown Atlanta, will hold a series of online experiences and smaller observance ceremonies Nov. 7.
Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center in Buckhead normally hosts an in-person Veterans Day event each year, but in 2020 it will hold a virtual one due to the pandemic.
With this year marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the center will pay tribute by having Hilbert Margol, who served in the 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division in Europe during the war, lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Sheffield Hale, the center’s president and CEO; Sue VerHoef, its director of oral history and genealogy and veterans history project director; and Gordon Jones, the center’s senior military historian, will speak.
A key theme of this year’s ceremony is the importance of remembrance and the preservation of veterans’ stories. Included during the ceremony is a special collage of Veterans History Project oral history recordings, curated by Sue VerHoef.
Operatic tenor Timothy Miller will perform the National Anthem and God Bless America as a tribute to those who served and continue to serve, and the colors will be presented by the Sandy Creek High School JROTC.
Due to the pandemic, the city of Sandy Springs cancelled its 11th annual Veterans Day Celebration, which was to take place at the City Green park. Instead, the city has created a free video tribute featuring interviews of veterans with local ties.
The video will include stories and experience from six veterans who served during World War II up to the present. They will also reflect on what service means to them. The video will be posted on Veterans Day at a time to be announced.
“While we had hoped to celebrate our honored veterans in person this year, as in years past, the health and safety of the community make a fully-digital program the most responsible option,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in a news release. “It was important that this tradition of honoring our service members continue.”
Create Sandy Springs Executive Director Shaun Albrechtson added, “The current pandemic restrictions have limited our traditional events, but we are excited to have this opportunity to focus on a different type of tribute. Storytelling through a video tribute just seemed like the right thing to do.”
To view the video, visit spr.gs/veteransday.
World of Coca-Cola
Military members (active duty, reserves and retirees) can enjoy a visit to World of Coca-Cola free of charge year-round, but Veterans Day is extra special. To show the downtown Atlanta attraction’s gratitude to the men and women who serve our country, it is extending a special offer to their loved ones as well.
Nov. 2 through 12, members of the Armed Forces may purchase up to four general admission tickets at half-price for their friends and family to join them on a memorable visit to the attraction.
Tickets must be purchased online using promotional code “vets2020” and members will be asked to present their valid Armed Forces ID when they arrive at the attraction.
At the World of Coca-Cola, guests can sample drinks from around the world, see the vault where Coca-Cola’s secret recipe is guarded, check out the attraction’s newest interactive exhibit, “Scent Discovery,” and more. Face coverings and social distancing are required.
Einstein Bros. Bagels
For Veterans Day, Einstein Bros. Bagels is giving away a free hot or iced medium coffee to any active or retired veteran on Nov. 11. No verification is needed; all they need to do is state that they are a veteran. This offer will be available at all stores excluding license stores inside of colleges, airports, hotels and hospitals.
To show appreciation this Veterans Day, QuikTrip is giving a free self-serve coffee or fountain drink to any active or former military members. By showing a military ID at checkout, members can redeem their free coffee or drink at any QuikTrip location during any hour of the day on Veterans Day.