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Overlook planned for National Cemetery

An artist rendering of the overlook at Alabama National. The overlook, above Shoal Creek, is being built through private donations and is expected to be complete in January.

By January, families of veterans buried at Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo will have a place to gather and reflect on the cemetery grounds while their loved one is being interred. 

The Support Committee of the Alabama National Cemetery broke ground in September on a wooded overlook above Shoal Creek at the edge of the cemetery. The volunteer group, which provides programs at the cemetery and assists survivors of veterans with burial needs, undertook the project in January 2013 when it began raising private donations for the structure. 

Bob Barefield, SCALNC chairman emeritus, says burial regulations don’t allow graveside services and families are limited to the time they can spend at an outdoor shelter (conducting what serves as a graveside service). 

“Families are having to leave and then come back to visit the gravesite after interment,” Barefield says. “Once this is available, this will be a place where they can go and quietly reflect not only the tragic side of losing a loved one, but the better side because that overlook is so serene and so peaceful that it makes you think of better times.”