Alabama National Cemetery
The Alabama Veterans Administration National Cemetery is a national cemetery for veterans of the United States armed forces located on 479 acres adjacent to the American Village near Montevallo. The cemetery's director is Quincy Whitehead. The first phase was dedicated on July 13, 2008.
The process of developing America's 129th national cemetery in the Birmingham area began in December 2003 when the Department of Veterans Affairs began speaking with local representatives and veterans' groups to solicit suggested sites. Spencer Bachus took a lead role in assisting the process. The area surrounding American Village was quickly chosen as the best site, with evaluations lasting from December 2004 to April 26, 2006, followed by a 30-day public comment period.
Two of the four parcels under initial consideration were no longer available when the National Cemetery Association began land acquisition. The 495-acre "Fowler Tract" was purchased from Clyde and Chloette Brown in July 2007 for $8 million earmarked in the 2006 federal budget. Master planning and design development proceeded under the 2007 federal budget, and $18.5 million was included in the 2008 budget for construction.
The first full phase of development will provide 9,100 full-casket grave sites, a 2,700-unit columbarium, and 3,100 in-ground spaces for cremated remains. Other facilities will include an administration office and information desk, a maintenance complex, shelters for committal services, and associated infrastructure. In October 2008 Birmingham's Civil Consultants, Inc. was awarded a $1.3 million contract to design the first phase.
The July 13, 2008 dedication ceremony, held on a slope on the American Village property overlooking the cemetery site, was presided over by Montevallo mayor Sharon Anderson with William Tuerk, Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs of the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Cemetery Administration. The 313th Army Band, U. S. Army Reserve provided music and former Korean War P.O.W. Newton Duke led the Pledge of Allegiance. A "consecration" took place on April 9, with clergy from various faiths conducting services at the site.
The first burials at the cemetery took place in May 2009. The remainder of the first phase of construction, encompassing administrative and maintenance buildings, a memorial walkway, utilities and 9,000 gravesites, was contracted later that year to C&C Contractors of Notasulga and is expected to be completed in March 2011. The Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery is raising funds for an "avenue of flags" at the cemetery's entrance.
- Ken Bourland (1972-2010), Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force
- David Crenshaw (1924–2011), community activist
- Wendell Harris (1933-2012), TV news executive
- Louis LeVaughn (1922–2010), educator
- Vance McBride (1927-2015), hardware retailer
- Butch Ridley (1943–2011), NYPD detective
- Virgil Trucks (1917-2013), baseball pitcher
- Wilstach, Nancy (December 23, 2007) "Federal 2008 budget funds National Veterans Cemetery in Montevallo." The Birmingham News
- Gordon, Tom (March 31, 2008) "VA picks name, director for national cemetery slated for Montevallo." The Birmingham News
- Wilstach, Nancy (July 12, 2008) "Federal 2008 budget funds National Veterans Cemetery in Montevallo." The Birmingham News
- Daniels, Malcomb (March 2, 2009) "Montevallo, Alabama veterans cemetery on schedule for May burials." The Birmingham News
- Daniels, Malcomb (July 13, 2009) "VA cemetery begins next phase." 'The Birmingham News
- Daniels, Malcomb (November 5, 2009) "2nd phase of veterans cemetery now being built in Montevallo." The Birmingham News
- Alabama National Cemetery at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website