Alabama lays claim to many firsts through­out his­tory

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

Wern­her Von Braun, led the United States jour­ney to the moon with the de­vel­op­ment of the Saturn 5 Rocket. The Mar­shall Flight Cen­ter is cur­rently man­ag­ing the pro­duc­tion by Boe­ing to build the first SLS (Space Launch Sys­tem) rocket. The SLS is ex­pected to be more pow­er­ful than the leg­endary Saturn 5 rocket and take man to Mars and safely re­turn home.

Alabama was the first city in Amer­ica to as­sem­ble the Air­bus A320 in 2015.

The Air­bus U.S. Man­u­fac­tur­ing Fa­cil­ity be­gan pro­duc­tion in Mo­bile, Alabama in July 2015. The $600-mil­lion, 53-acre fa­cil­ity at the Mo­bile Aero­plex at Brook­ley pro­duces the A320 air­craft. The first cus­tomer was JetBlue in April 2016. At the be­gin­ning of this month, the Air­bus En­gi­neer­ing Cen­ter in Mo­bile cel­e­brated 10 years of oper­a­tion. This was the first step in ex­pand­ing Air­bus to the United States. Air­bus an­tic­i­pates de­liv­er­ing four air­craft per month from Mo­bile be­fore the end of this year.

Alabama was the first state to have a state-funded ar­chives de­part­ment and build­ing.

On Fe­bru­ary 27, 1901, The Alabama Leg­is­la­ture cre­ated the na­tion’s first pub­licly funded state ar­chives agency. Thomas M. Owen served as the founder and first di­rec­tor of the Alabama De­part­ment of Ar­chives and His­tory. The Alabama De­part­ment of Ar­chives and His­tory of­fers many ser­vices for our cit­i­zens to ben­e­fit from in­clud­ing: Alabama Voices ex­hi­bi­tion al­low­ing cit­i­zens to ex­pe­ri­ence 300 years of Alabama’s his­tory; and The Land of Alabama fea­tur­ing the nat­u­ral re­sources of our lands that shaped our State, and houses ar­ti­facts telling each story in our his­tory. The Mu­seum is a great way to for stu­dents and adults of all ages to ex­pe­ri­ence the his­tory of our great State.

Alabama was the first state to de­clare Christ­mas a le­gal hol­i­day.

Alabama took the lead in 1836 to de­clare Christ­mas a le­gal hol­i­day. Christ­mas was not rec­og­nized as a fed­eral hol­i­day un­til June 26, 1870. Alabama rec­og­nized the sig­nif- icance of time spent with fam­ily and friends while cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas and acted on it.

Alabama was the first state to have a Veter­ans Day cel­e­bra­tion and pa­rade.

The first Veteran Day Cel­e­bra­tion was in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama, in 1947 and was or­ga­nized by Ray­mond Weeks, a World War II Veteran. Our State stands by Veter­ans be­cause they de­serve the up­most re­spect for their sac­ri­fice to our coun­try. Alabama es­tab­lished the Alabama Veter­ans Ex­ec­u­tive Net­work (AlaVetNet) in 2013 to fa­cil­i­tate the de­liv­ery of uni­fied, seam­less, and sys­tem­atic ac­cess to ser­vices for those who have served our coun­try and our state. In the last year, Alabama an­nounced a new way of rec­og­niz­ing veteran owned busi­nesses in our state with the dis­tri­bu­tion of dis­play de­cals. I am proud Alabama has taken the lead in re­spect­ing and hon­or­ing the sac­ri­fice of our veter­ans.

Alabama was the first state to have an ed­u­ca­tional tele­vi­sion net­work.

The Alabama Ed­u­ca­tional Tele­vi­sion Com­mis­sion was cre­ated by the Alabama Leg­is­la­ture in 1953. With the first broad­cast as a net­work in 1955 on Alabama Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion (APT), Alabama be­came first state in the na­tion with an ed­u­ca­tional tele­vi­sion net­work. APT con­tin­ues to serve Alabama cit­i­zens by en­rich­ing their lives with high qual­ity in­struc­tional con­tent. The Capi­tol Jour­nal, a pro­gram of APT, re­ports top Alabama news, events, is­sues, leg­isla­tive ses­sions and all hap­pen­ings in state gov­ern­ment.

Alabama was the first state to have an Emer­gency 911 call sys­tem.

The first 911 call in the United States was made by Alabama Se­na­tor Rankin Fite in Ha­leyville, Alabama, on Fe­bru­ary 16, 1968. In 2012, the Alabama Leg­is­la­ture cre­ated the Statewide 911 Board to fa­cil­i­tate and pro­mote an ef­fec­tive, ef­fi­cient, and re­li­able 9-1-1 ser­vice to all res­i­dent and vis­i­tors in Alabama. I am proud that through en­deav­ors like the Alabama First Re­spon­ders Wire­less Com­mis­sion, Alabama has and will con­tinue to sup­port the safety of our cit­i­zens and law en­force­ment.

Alabama in­tro­duced Mardi Gras to the western world. The cel­e­bra­tion is held on Shrove Tues­day, the day be­fore Lent be­gins.

As we cel­e­brate Shrove Tues­day (com­monly re­ferred to as Fat Tues­day) to­day, it is ap­pro­pri­ate to rec­og­nize it all be­gan in Mo­bile, Alabama, with the Car­ni­val Cel­e­bra­tion started by French­man Ni­cholas Lan­glois in 1703. The two weeks of Mardi Gras are cel­e­brated with elab­o­rate cos­tumes fea­tur­ing pur­ple, gold and green. There are pa­rades of ex­trav­a­gant floats with beads and moon pies thrown to the pub­lic while so­ci­ety balls host grand cel­e­bra­tions.

The first open heart surgery in the western hemi­sphere was per­formed in Alabama.

Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill per­formed the first open heart surgery on a young boy in Mont­gomery, Alabama, in 1902. With ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy re­gard­ing open heart surgery, I am proud Alabama was first in the ef­forts of sav­ing lives.

Alabama was the first state to have an air con­di­tioned the­ater.

In 1917, The New Em­pire The­ater in Mont­gomery, Alabama, was the first to have air con­di­tion­ing in the world. The the­ater later be­came fa­mous as the first venue Hank Wil­liams, Sr., per­formed and the ac­tual site where the bus was lo­cated when Rosa Parks re­fused to give up her seat. Af­ter the New Em­pire The­ater’s de­mo­li­tion, the site now hosts Troy Univer­sity’s Rosa Parks Li­brary and Mu­seum. The Alabama The­ater was built in 1927 as the largest movie the­ater in Birm­ing­ham and is the only one of its size re­main­ing from that era. The Alabama The­ater was also the first pub­lic build­ing in Alabama to have air con­di­tion­ing. Alabama is home to many his­toric the­aters such as the Bama The­ater in Tuscaloosa, Davis The­ater in Mont­gomery, Ritz The­ater in Sh­effield and Lyric The­ater in Birm­ing­ham to name a few.

WASH­ING­TON, D.C. —Most folks across East Alabama watched with ex­cite­ment on Jan. 25 as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to strengthen our coun­try’s im­mi­gra­tion laws.

I, too, ap­plauded our new pres­i­dent’s ac­tion to take se­ri­ously our na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion cri­sis.

As a se­nior mem­ber of the House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee, I have long been an ad­vo­cate for pro­tect­ing Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers from the enor­mous costs of il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion. Pres­i­dent Trump’s ac­tion stated his in­tent to build a wall along our south­ern bor­der.

The Se­cure Fence Act of 2006 au­tho­rized the build­ing of a fence along our south­ern bor­der. I am proud to say that I was a cospon­sor of that leg­is­la­tion then, and I re­main a strong sup­porter of that law now.

Though Pres­i­dent Obama ig­nored this pub­lic law, we in the Congress will work with our new pres­i­dent to build the wall once and for all. Recently, in a House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee hear­ing I was able to speak with De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Kelly about our shared ef­forts.

I be­lieve bor­der wall con­struc­tion is a time-sen­si­tive is­sue and should start as soon as pos­si­ble.

In or­der to jump­start con­struc­tion of the wall, I will spon­sor a bill, the Bor­der Se­cu­rity Fund­ing Act of 2017, which will re­quire il­le­gal work­ers to pay a fee on money they send away to their home coun­tries. This bill will also strengthen penal­ties for any coun­try ben­e­fit­ing from il­le­gal im­mi­grant work in Amer­ica.

Thank­fully, with Jeff Ses­sions be­com­ing our At­tor­ney Gen­eral, we will fi­nally have a strong sup­porter of the rule of law at the DOJ. By build­ing a bor­der wall and en­forc­ing the laws on the books, Amer­i­can can start to re­claim its sovereignty. I am look­ing for­ward to work­ing closely with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to curb Amer­ica’s il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion prob­lem.

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