Sacrifices remembered at Andersonville - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sacrifices remembered at Andersonville

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ANDERSONVILLE, GA (WALB) –It's a day set aside to honor those who have made and continue to make sacrifices for our country. Throughout this Veterans Day, people in South Georgia and across the country showed their appreciation for the courageous service of past and present military members. With one step onto the grounds at Andersonville, it's impossible not to be reminded.

On a windy Veterans Day in Andersonville, dozens of waving flags of red, white and blue greet you. "When I pulled up and saw all the flags and the statue, it was beautiful," said visitor Kathy Lawson.

It's 250 beautiful reminders of what they mean to Lawson and her friend Teresa Mott. "Overwhelming," said Lawson.

"My husband is a veteran and my father was a veteran and is buried in a veteran's cemetery in Eagle Point, Oregon so it's very special to me," said Mott.

The two women are visiting Georgia from Oregon and decided to take a trip with family to the National Cemetery. "It just makes you think about these guys and their families and what they sacrificed for our country. It's emotional," said Lawson.

Thousands of marble gravesites sprawl the grounds of Andersonville. "It's not just a piece of marble. That is a person who made sacrifices to defend our country," said Andersonville Cultural Resource Specialist Ranger Alan Marsh.

The majority are nearly 14,000 union prisoners of war. Another 5,000 are other military veterans along with their spouses and children. "A lot of men and women throughout our country's history have sacrificed and left their families and served in the military and it's for us," said Marsh.

Marsh handles day to day operations at the historic site but also has personal ties to his work here. His father served in the military and on days like Veterans Day, he can't help but be reminded of it all. "I've been here for many years and always have a pride and get a special feeling when I'm in the park or the cemetery. I still get chill bumps thinking about all the veteran's sacrifices," said Marsh.

Those sacrifices span decades and will continue to be made. It's those visual reminders that visitors want to capture on camera. "Just memories of seeing it and being here and everything," said Lawson.

It's pretty certain that for them, the waving symbols of freedom and the men and women who rest beneath them won't be forgotten.

Andersonville is also planning their Wreaths Across America Project. Wreaths with bows will be placed on gravesites during a December 12th ceremony. The ceremony will start at 11 a.m. If you'd like to sponsor a wreath or volunteer to place them, contact Volunteer Coordinator Lindsey Phillips at 229-924-0343 by December 1st.

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