American Village hosts Memorial Day services

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

MONTEVALLO – The American Village in Montevallo marked Memorial Day with a solemn salute followed by a day of historical fun and education on Monday, May 27.

Despite the storms that showered the community the night before, the American Village welcomed crowds of veterans and visitors, that exceeded last year’s turnout, into the Colonial Chapel for services that began at 11 a.m.

Members of the Thompson High School JROTC program served as color guard for the event while American Village CEO Col. Alan Miller led the Pledge of Allegiance before welcoming visitors, veterans and their families to the facility.

American Village staff members Natalie Steed, Mike Jones and Val Crofts then presented readings from Psalms and Isaiah that were then followed by Colonial Chapel Board member Kyle Valaer leading the audience in responsive prayer and Dr. Maurice Valentine reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the closing prayer.

Musician Robert Cargo then played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes while members of the audience placed American flags among the Memorial Day wreath in remembrance of loved ones who sacrificed their lives in service to the United States.

The wreath was then carried in a procession from the Colonial Chapel to the National Veterans Shrine, where it was placed in front of the statue, “Liberty Uniting the Colonies.”

“Col. Miller thanked everyone for coming to the American Village and taking part in the Memorial Day Service,” said Melanie Poole, communications officer for American Village. “He encouraged them to help those in need, to do a deed of service for our fellow citizens. Those gathered were given the opportunity to ring a large bell in honor of someone in the Armed Forces while Mr. Cargo played taps.”

Following the completion of the wreath laying ceremony, attendees were invited to stay at American Village, which offered a day of free admission and numerous family-friendly activities. Visitors were treated to depictions of colonial games, spy techniques, apothecary and continental army medicine, 18th century clothing, a puppet show and multiple reenactors.

“Patriots such as John Adams, Martha Washington, Eliza Hamilton, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry also met the public and engaged them in stories of the American Revolution,” Poole said.

Visitors were also able to enjoy a number of local food trucks and vendors such as Kona Ice, C’s Cake and Coffee House, Cousins Main Lobster, The Frozen Rooster and Temper Coffee.

Other reenactors also offered the public a glimpse of what life was like for soldiers across multiple eras including the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War. Another organization, the Dixie Division, also brought restored military vehicles that were placed on display for the young and for veterans who used them in service.

“It was a wonderful experience to reconnect with old friends and make new acquaintances while engaging in the Memorial Day activities at the American Village,” State Rep. Kenneth Paschal said.