Alabama National Cemetery
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed federal holidays.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
From Interstate 65, take Exit 234 (Shelby County Airport). Turn left on Hwy. 87 (this turns into Hwy. 12). Travel on Hwy. 12 (approximately 1.5 miles to stop sign). Turn right on Hwy. 22 travel 2.8 miles to traffic light. Turn left on Hwy. 119 South. Travel 1.3 miles, the cemetery will be on the right.
Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
The new 479-acre national cemetery in the Birmingham area will serve veterans' needs for at least the next 50 years. The cemetery is located at 3133 Highway 119, 15 miles south of Birmingham, just north of the town of Montevallo and west of Interstate Highway 65.
In July 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs purchased the site for approximately $8 million and awarded a contract in September 2007 to Civil Consultants, Inc. to design the new cemetery.
Construction of Phase I consists of approximately 45 acres, and includes facilities necessary to maintain, operate, and provide burials for approximately ten years. When this phase of construction is complete the interment areas will provide for 7,395 full-casket gravesites, 999 in-ground cremation sites and approximately 2,700 columbarium niches. The new cemetery will also include an administration and public information center complex with an electronic gravesite locator and public restrooms, a maintenance facility, a cemetery entrance area, a flag assembly area, a memorial walkway and two committal shelters for funeral services. Other infrastructure design elements include roadways, landscaping, utilities and irrigation.
Our cemetery floral regulations exist only to reflect the honor and respect we hold for our Nation's Veterans, by preserving the dignity and solemnity of their final resting place.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed as follows, a maximum of three will be placed on the grave and the remainder will be placed at a central location.
The cemetery welcomes and encourages fresh-cut flowers throughout the year. Floral containers are located throughout the cemetery for public use and free of charge. Items left at grave side must be floral in nature and may not stand taller than the headstone.
Floral items and other decorations may not be secured to the headstone. Flowers will be removed when spent, for mowing and maintenance, or if damaged by weather or wildlife.
No permanent floral vases are permitted. Due to the open nature of the grounds, we cannot guarantee against theft, vandalism or the effects of nature.
Artificial flowers will be permitted during the period from October 1 through April 1.
Plantings will not be permitted on graves at any time. Potted plants will be permitted on graves during the period 10 days before and 10 days after Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Christmas.
Christmas wreaths or grave blankets are permitted on graves from December 15 through January 10 and will be removed not later than January 20 of each year. Grave floral blankets may not be larger than two by three feet.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on the graves. Hazardous materials, glass, metal, toys, candles, balloons and flags are not permitted.
The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments which are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury. Unauthorized items will be removed immediately. The cemetery does not keep any unauthorized decorations once they have been removed from the grave.
In order to preserve the dignity and honor of our Veteran's final resting place, please observe the following rules of behavior while visiting the cemetery grounds:
- Pets are not allowed on the cemetery grounds at any time.
- No soliciting.
- Sports or recreational activities of any kind are prohibited.
- No picnicking.
- Public gatherings of a partisan nature are prohibited, no unauthorized gatherings are permitted. Committal shelters are for services only, no loitering.
- Littering is not allowed, please use one of the many receptacles provided.
- Smoking is not allowed on the grounds, in any building or the committal shelter. Please smoke only at the designated receptacles.
- No cutting, digging or otherwise damaging the landscape.
- Boisterous activity, including the playing of loud music, is prohibited.
Altering a headstone in any manner is prohibited. (i.e., marking, sitting on, placing objects upon, attaching photographs or keepsakes to, etc.)
These rules are covered by 38 CFR 1.218 and are subject to fines.
VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors. Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.
With the passage of the National Cemetery Expansion Act of 2003, Congress directed the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish six new national cemeteries in areas with at least 170,000 residents not currently served by burial locations for veterans, including central Alabama.
At the time NCA purchased the site of Alabama National Cemetery, the property was used for agricultural purposes. Alabama National Cemetery was formally dedicated in 2008, and opened for burials the following year. Alabama National Cemetery is the third national cemetery built in the state and the 129th in the national cemetery system. The first burials commenced on June 25, 2009.
In 2011, Alabama National Cemetery completed construction of the cemetery support facilities including the Public Information Center, main entrance with Avenue of Flags, memorial wall with flag circle, offices and maintenance facilities, columbarium, committal shelters, and memorial walkway. The design and layout received an honor award from the Alabama Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Prior to development and use as a national cemetery, the land had a long and culturally-varied history. During the Colonial period the Muskogee tribe, also known as the Creeks, lived in central Alabama. By the early 19th century, European-American encroachment led to a division within the Creek society between a partially-assimilated faction, and those that sought to return to their traditional culture and religion. Tensions culminated in the Creek War (1813–1814) which began as a tribal civil war but became intertwined with the War of 1812 when the U.S. government allied with the assimilated Creeks. The Creek War ended with the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ceded much of the tribal territory in Georgia and Alabama to the United States.
Four years after taking control of the territory the Alabama Territorial General Assembly created Shelby County from some of the former Creek Indian territory on February 7, 1818. Shelby County was named after Isaac Shelby, Revolutionary War hero and first governor of Kentucky. Alabama became a state one year later in 1819.
Abundant iron and coal deposits are found throughout Shelby County. As early as the 1820s, settlers began to establish small-scale forges to smith iron ore. Production gradually increased in the coming decades, and during the Civil War local iron works produced war materiel for the Confederacy. Nevertheless, the county’s economy was predominantly agricultural; growing primarily cotton.
By the early 20th century, labor-intensive cotton production gave way to a more diversified set of crops; corn, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans were typical.
The population of Shelby County began to grow steadily in the 1970s, as new housing developments were constructed for workers commuting into Birmingham, the largest city in the state. In the following decades growth accelerated; from 1970 to 2010, the county’s population quadrupled. The rabid population growth included veterans, which led to a need for the national cemetery. At the time of the 2006 nationwide study, Alabama had the largest number per capita of active and retired military servicemen and women outside of a “reasonable proximity” to a national cemetery.