Walker deserves heroes honor

Published 12:25 pm Friday, March 25, 2022

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When Tom Walker first thought of creating an educational destination to learn about American history and civics, he wasn’t aware of the number of lives it would eventually impact.

But that’s exactly what the 188-acre American Village in Montevallo has done for more than 22 years, welcoming more than 750,000 students from Shelby County and beyond.

The venue has become a hidden treasure for students, residents and visitors from all around, immersing them in the foundations of American liberty and government.

Walker deserves a lot of credit for turning what was once an old farm into one of the most famed education venues in the country.

He had a belief that more needed to be done to promote American historical and civic literacy for citizens of all ages, and that’s exactly what he was able to accomplish when he created American Village in November 1999.

“For several years, I began to envision and wrestle with the idea of what would become the American Village, a unique American history and civics education campus to inspire young people (and others as well) to make powerful connections to our shared legacy of liberty and self-government, as a preparation for their own individual service as citizens and leaders,” Walker wrote in a reflections published in a commemorative booklet.

On Monday, March 14, a special celebration was held for Walker to honor his legacy as the venue’s founder after announcing his retirement a week earlier.

He served as the American Village president for the 22 years it has been open, and leaves it even better than the day he started it.

American Village features an interactive way for visitors to immerse themselves in a walk through history, including Liberty Hall, Liberty Bell Garden, Founders Hall, Washington Hall Mount Vernon and Assembly rooms, the Oval Office, Colonial Garden, Independence Hall and much more.

It is an incredible and unique place to visit that not only puts you in the middle of some of the most historic times in the country, but does so in a fun and interactive way.

American Village has become one of the most anticipated field trips for students, taking a subject that may bore them inside a classroom, and turning it into an exciting adventure.

And that was Walker’s entire goal.

He knew what he wanted to accomplish, which was to give young students the opportunity to learn about this country’s history in an entertaining way.

Thank you, Tom, for your dedication to our history and our future.