Friday Field Trip: Alabama National Cemetery

When the weather turns warm again after a long, cold winter, the field trip becomes the backbone of our home school. We work hard during the year to finish our book work, or at least parts of it, so that we can get outside during the spring. We front-load our week with reading and writing and worksheets and classroom instruction so that on Thursday and Friday we can hit the road for some really interesting educational destinations.

A couple of weeks ago the girls and I made the short drive to Montevallo, Alabama to visit American Village. Since we have been studying the founding of the United States, we enjoyed seeing so much history from that era. Just a few hundred yards down the road from American Village is another Alabama treasure.

Before 2009, there were over 170,000 living veterans in the greater Birmingham area, but the closest national cemeteries were in Phenix City and Mobile. The Mobile cemetery was closed to interments in the 1990’s, leaving only the Phenix City cemetery to serve US veterans who wanted to be buried in a national cemetery. This meant, of course, that many aging, surviving spouses chose not to bury their loved ones in a national cemetery, opting instead for cemeteries closer to home so that they could visit. However, in 2008 the Veterans Administration was given permission to build a new cemetery to serve the Birmingham area. The first phase was opened in June, 2009 and burials were scheduled for the week after the cemetery’s consecration ceremony. Fittingly, the site chosen for this sacred spot was just down the road from American Village. Visitors to the Village can now easily stop by the Alabama National Cemetery to pay their respects as part of their visit to American Village.

We have not been to American Village since the opening of the Alabama National Cemetery, so I was looking forward to taking the girls to see it. I really didn’t know what to expect, but was delighted at how beautiful it was. Of course, it was also quiet and peaceful.

The site is absolutely beautiful. There are lots of trees and rolling hills. In the first phase of construction, they opened 1000 burial spaces. It also included the entrance and roadways, an administrative building, a public information center, and two covered areas to hold services during bad weather. They will soon open space for another 8100 casket sites plus space for above-ground and in-ground cremation sites and a columbarian space for storage of crematory urns. The grounds cover 479 acres, so there is plenty of room to expand.
Our family is especially glad to have the Alabama National Cemetery close by because last year when my great-uncle died, he was able to be buried there.

In case you’re wondering what Isaiah 40:31 says, it is this,
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Stop by and pay your respects at the Alabama National Cemetery when you go to American Village. It’s an honor that many people don’t have!


  1. […] 12. Alabama National Cemetery: While you are at American Village, hop down the road a tenth of a mile or so and pay your respects at the Alabama National Cemetery. […]

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