Our state’s neighbor to the north calls itself “The Volunteer State”. But, in the 20th & 21st Centuries, Alabama has more volunteers than any other state in the country. Alabamians have shown they understand the blessings of freedom are not free. In the last century, over 11,000 of our state’s citizens paid for freedom with their lives.
From Kelly Ingram, the first Alabamian to be killed in World War I to Julius Ellsberry, a graduate of Parker High School, who was the first Alabamian to be killed in World War II to the 437,000 veterans currently living in the State, Alabamians have shown true valor for their country and strong compassion for their compatriots. The Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation was created to help remember them and to help educate young people about war, peace and civic responsibility.
History of the Memorial
The dream to build a Memorial began with one person—one person who realized that thousands of Alabamians had served in wars throughout the 20th & 21st Century. Together, they formed the Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization, bringing to life the dream of a permanent memorial park to honor Alabama Veterans.
Phase I of the Foundation’s project, dedicated on May 27, 2001, includes the memorial walkway within a 22.5 acre park leading to the Memorial. The Memorial consists of a courtyard area with a Regiment of Columns standing in front of a uniquely designed Hall of Honor.
There are 36 Columns in the Regiment, each two feet in diameter and 20 feet in height. The Columns support aluminum casts of 24 citations for Alabama’s Medal of Honor recipients from the 20th Century. They also support veterans’ stories, veterans’ letters and 59 related original works of art designed by Alabama artists.
The 23 foot by 46 foot Hall of Honor displays the names of Alabama’s veterans, from all branches of service, who died during active duty in 20th and 21st Century wars. The wars include World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Names of over 11,000 Alabamians lost to war, of which 20% came from Jefferson County, are listed. The names are displayed in each war alphabetically within a veteran’s county of enlistment.
The Memorial sits in a park atmosphere created for teaching, for learning, for celebration of peace and for
celebration of democracy. Visitors will view and experience the following premier attractions: