Veterans cemetery perfect fit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Years ago, American Village Executive Director Tom Walker had a dream for a place where children could come and learn about American history and the sacrifices made for the freedoms we all enjoy.

Walker&8217;s dream evolved into the American Village, which today teaches U.S. civics to more than 100,000 students a year from all over the Southeast.

Construction started last month on a National Veterans Cemetery that will be built right next door to the American Village.

Together, the Village and the cemetery will bring hundreds of thousands of people a year to Shelby County to teach them valuable lessons about our country&8217;s brave service men and women.

Veterans Affairs undersecretary William F. Tuerk described the union this week as a &8220;marriage made in heaven.&8221;

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, who worked to provide federal funding for the cemetery, agreed.

Bachus said he hopes when children look out over the cemetery and visit the American Village that they&8217;ll remember our country&8217;s veterans and be taught respect and honor.

The Village has plans for several projects to complement the cemetery, including an interactive tribute to local soldiers and a special trail that will wind toward the cemetery.

Besides educating our children, the cemetery will provided a nearby burial place for local families. More than 200,000 veterans call central Alabama home, but the closest national cemetery is more than 100 miles away.

Having a cemetery close by now gives our veterans the option to be buried in a veterans cemetery but still be near their loved ones