First burials at Alabama National Cemetery June 25

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The first burials at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo will take place Thursday, June 25.

Cemetery Director Quincy Whitehead announced Wednesday the cremated remains of nine veterans will be interred simultaneously during an opening ceremony beginning at 10 a.m.

Nine dignitaries will gently place the remains in their respective sites while family members look on. The playing of “Taps” and a gun salute will conclude the ceremony.

“The families are really excited about this, and the staff is excited about this,” Whitehead told a crowd at a Montevallo Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday. “Now it’s time for these families to finally gain closure.”

Whitehead said casket burials will begin June 29.

Spring rains delayed the cemetery’s scheduled May opening. Minor irrigation work will conclude Phase 1A of construction, which includes space for 1,000 casket burials and 1,000 cremation sites, temporary buildings, utilities, road construction and landscaping. The irrigation work will be completed prior to the opening ceremony, Whitehead said.

Phase 1B of the project, which includes the construction of permanent administration and maintenance buildings, a columbarium, two committal shelters, public restrooms and an electronic gravesite locator, is set to begin this fall, Whitehead said.

When finished, the cemetery will serve approximately 200,000 veterans over the next 50 years.

The cemetery is located along Alabama Highway 119 adjacent to The American Village. For more information, call 665-9039.