The Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, located in the old L&N Freight Depot in Athens, was the brainchild of the late Limestone County, Alabama, Veterans Service Officer Kenneth David. After collecting artifacts for an exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1995, Ken still had many artifacts left after the exhibit closed that contributors didn’t retrieve. He wanted a permanent place to display the artifacts to honor the brave men and women from the Civil War to the present who fought and died to keep our land free.
The Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives opened its doors in 2000 with a few primitive displays and much renovation work still to be done. We had our Grand Opening and Dedication service on Nov. 10, 2002. Our guest speaker was Johnny Spann of Winfield, Ala., father of Mike Spann, the first American killed in Afghanistan in the wake of the terrorist attack on America. One week later, Ken David lost his battle with cancer.
The museum, which is still under renovation, is divided into three areas: the Tyler Craig Memorial Library; the Bob McAbee Exhibit Hall, and the Wendell Powers Auditorium to commemorate the untold hours of volunteer labor these three museum board members gave, and continue to give, to this building.
We have heard it commented by visitors who have seen military museum throughout the U.S. that the charm of this museum is that it celebrates the accomplishments and sacrifices of the common service person and his family on the home front, rather than extolling the oft-told glory of their commanders.