Montevallo to honor veterans during daylong celebration

Montevallo will host a day of remembrance and celebration for the nation’s fallen, former and current soldiers May 31.

The Alabama National Cemetery will begin Memorial Day at 9 a.m. with a service honoring the fallen soldiers and veterans buried there.

American Village will continue the day at 11 a.m. with its sixth-annual Blue Star Salute.

The Blue Star Salute’s opening ceremonies will begin at 11 a.m. at American Village’s Liberty Hall, and will feature retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore as its keynote speaker. The village’s gates will open for the day at 10 a.m.

Throughout the day, the village will feature everything from a snapshot of 18th-century life to re-enactments of the American flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II.

The event will also feature live music and a salute to America’s fallen heroes shortly before the event concludes at 3:30 p.m. Full Moon Barbecue will provide food throughout the day.

Active military members, veterans and children younger than 4 will be admitted to American Village free, and admission for everyone else will be $5.

“All the branches of the military will host the event,” said Martha Lewis with American Village. “It’s just a wonderful, wonderful day.”

American Village visitors will also get a chance to help others while honoring the nation’s veterans throughout the day.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers will hold a blood drive at American Village May 31 during the Blue Star Salute.

The organization will set up a bloodmobile near the performance stage during the daylong celebration, and will provide free cholesterol screening to everyone who donates blood.

All donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and show a photo identification when they give blood. Sixteen-year-olds must have signed parental consent before they give blood.

“The blood drive really goes along with the spirit of the day,” said Montevallo Chamber of Commerce President Mary Lou Williams.

“Donating blood is a great way to show your support for your country and local community,” added Blaire Wheeler, community development coordinator for LifeSouth in Birmingham.