Alabama National Cemetery holds successful Memorial Day Service
Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023
By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – Around 2,000 people came to the Alabama National Cemetery on Memorial Day to recognize and honor the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms of the U.S.
A ceremony was held at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo on Monday, May 29 in recognition of Memorial Day.
“I think it is an outstanding tribute to the memory and honor of those who’ve given their life in service to our country,” said Pam Nichols, chairman of the Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery. “We could not ask for a more supportive and patriotic community that comes out every year to remember those heroes.”
Nichols shared that they estimated around 2,000 people attended the Memorial Day ceremony.
“I think the crowd size speaks to itself,” she said. “Everyone was eager to pay their respects and honor these military service members who were interred at the cemetery. Our volunteer turnout was outstanding, and as the chairman of the support committee, I could not ask any better than that. Our hearts are with all of our Gold Star families, and we just want them to know that we’ll never forget their sacrifice.”
In preparation for the Memorial Day ceremony, volunteers came to assist in placing a flag on each and every grave in the cemetery.
“We estimate that between the family members and volunteers that showed up, that we had about 1,000 people who volunteered on Saturday to help us do that,” Nichols said. “We had over 10,000 flags to put out and it only took us an hour to do that because of all the wonderful volunteers we had. So, that was a great day.”
The Memorial Day ceremony began with a flyover by three vintage military aircraft. During the service, Civil Air Patrol cadets served as the color guard. The singing group Homeland did the national anthem and a Boy Scout troop from a local church led the pledge. “TAPS” was performed by Marine Veteran Jim Quakenbush of Bugles Across America. A four-volley cannon salute was led by Civil War reenactors.
The keynote speaker for the event was Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry McClain
“He gave a beautiful keynote speech,” Nichols said. “ In fact, several people who are in the audience came to me and said, ‘He was so good, you should invite him back every year.’”
Nichols spoke on the importance of Memorial Day.
“We have three distinct federal holidays that recognize our military,” she said. “There’s Armed Forces Day, that’s in honor of those currently serving, there’s Veterans Day (that) honors those who have served and there’s Memorial Day that honors those who gave their life in service to (their) country.
“Memorial Day is a sacred holiday to us, and we not only do it to remember and honor those who lost their lives in service to our country, we do it to demonstrate to their families, those Gold Star families, that we’ll never forget the sacrifice they made for our freedom. To us, that is a very sacred and reverent holiday.”
More information on the Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery can be found on its Facebook page at Facebook.com/scalnc.