Last week we visited our daughter in Montgomery for a few days. We have been in this area a number of times, mostly just as a stopover on RV trips. This time we wanted to check out some of the local attractions and get a feel for the city. One of the places mentioned on every must see list is the Oakwood Annex Cemetery. It has attained that status primarily because Hank Williams is buried there. He gained fame for his country music songs that touched a lot of people. His short career came to an end when he died before reaching the age of 30 in 1953. His grave sits on the top of the hill. There is a also a tombstone for his first wife, but she choose not to be buried there when she died years later. The grave site is covered in Astroturf. Apparently, they could not keep grass on the site, since visitors would pull of the grass as keepsakes.
While Hank Williams may be the big attraction, the cemetery has a lot of history of its own. Oakwood was started in 1817 and is open to all Montgomery people. Since Montgomery is the state capitol, there are many prominent people buried here. We strolled through a section with numerous graves of Confederate soldiers of all ranks.
There is a section next to the Williams site with row after row of foreign airmen graves. These were airmen in training just before and during WWII at Maxwell Air Field. The training in those days was accelerated to get more planes in the air. This resulted in many deaths during training and low hour pilots sent to the front often did not last very long, which resulted in a steady demand for more pilots. It is a sobering sight.