A day of remembrance

Historical interpreters march through the American Village during a past Memorial Day. (Contributed)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The eighth annual Blue Star Salute will honor veterans and remember fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, May 28.

The day of memory will begin with a memorial service at 9 a.m. in the Alabama National Cemetery, located off Alabama 119 in Montevallo.

“We have a dedication of (military service) wreathes at the memorial site,” said Glenn Nivens of the Blue Star Salute. “Representatives of each branch of the military service does the formal laying of each of those wreathes. Each of those wreaths is meaningful in themselves to be able to have a uniformed service member of each respective branch paying respect to each branch of the military.”

Events starting at 11:30 a.m. will follow at the American Village.

“I devoted 29 years of my life to military service, so I know firsthand all of those who have served to defend the nation, whether they’re in the national cemetery or will be guests at the American Village, they deserve full honor and respect,” Nivens said. “Those who signed a blank check up to and including their very lives are honored on Memorial Day.

“That’s what our endeavor is, to pay full honor and respect on that particular day,” he added. “They dedicated all of themselves to this nation.”

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman will be the day’s keynote speaker. The day will also include the unveiling of a Buffalo Soldiers monument, programming by the American Village interpretive staff and Purple Heart ceremonies.

The day will conclude with a salute to fallen soldiers hosted by Rachel Clinkscale of the Gold Star Wives of America. Families of the fallen and Gold Star Wives will place long-stemmed, red remembrance roses on the empty boots of those who gave their lives for their country.

“From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., there in Montevallo, there’s going to be significant events in honor of those who have served and given their lives in the end of military service,” Nivens said. “We’re so proud to be able to do that.”

Admission for the American Village will be $5, and veterans and active military are free. For more information about Montevallo’s Memorial Day events, call the American Village at 665-3535.