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Rainbow Solider Dedication
August 28, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
A century ago, 3,677 Alabamians left Montgomery’s Union Station to serve their country in World War I. On August 28, 2017, exactly one hundred years to the day of their departure, a bronze sculpture will be dedicated in their honor in front of historic Union Station. These brave men comprised the 167th U.S. Infantry Regiment of the famous 42nd Rainbow Division, and their contributions in multiple battles were vital to winning the war. Known as “The Immortals,” these heroic soldiers, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice, were revered for their unwavering courage in the face of unrelenting enemy attack. Their bravery in fighting alongside the French at the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm helped push back the Germans at the Ourcq River, one of the most critical points of the war. Success there came at a high price, as the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm remains the second deadliest battle in Alabama history.
Those who survived were welcomed home to Alabama in May of 1919 with celebrations befitting their heroic status, but time has faded remembrance of their service and sacrifice. The statue to be dedicated on August 28 will ensure these Alabamians will never be forgotten.
The sculpture is a gift to the City of Montgomery from the Croix Rouge Memorial Foundation made possible through the generosity of longtime business and community leader Nimrod T. Frazer. A military hero himself, having earned the Silver Star for his service in Korea, Frazer has dedicated much of his life to ensuring present and future generations understand the legacy of the 167th. Author of Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division, which tells the remarkable story of these soldiers, Frazer commissioned the Croix Rouge Farm Memorial in 2011. Located to the south of the French city of Fère-en-Tardenois on the site of the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm, the memorial is a bronze sculpture that stands in honor of the 42nd Rainbow Division. The Montgomery sculpture will be a second casting of the one in France.
Both sculptures were designed by acclaimed British sculptor James Butler, RA. Butler also designed the bronze sculpture of Daedalus that was inaugurated at Maxwell Air Force Base on April 6, 2017. It commemorates the centennial of World War I and the World War I pilots for whom the Order of the Daedalians was established at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1934.
Among those who will be attending the 5 p.m. statue dedication at Union Station on August 28 will be Consul General of France Louis de Corail, as well as military leaders, elected officials and business and community leaders. The public is also invited to attend this historic event. The soldiers of the 167th were from hundreds of cities and towns throughout Alabama. Therefore, communities across the state are encouraged to send representatives to the ceremony to pay tribute to their hometown heroes.