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Lawmakers honor veterans

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May 30,2004

Andersonville -- Since our nation's birth more than one million veterans have given their lives in service to our country. Sunday, veterans gathered at the Andersonville National Historic Site to remember the high price paid for freedom.

It's a sound those who fought for freedom know best. The dound of free air holding up a symbol of freedom. A sight that reminds 84 year old World War two veteran and ex POW Charles McGhee why he broke years of silence about his time at war. 

"Maybe it's my age that showed up. Before I never cared to talk about it. I moved on with my life but now that I'm getting older I think it should be pasted on," says McGhee.

And that's what he and a handful of other veterans who gathered on the hollow grounds of the Andersonville historic site hope to do. Re-telling stories about the price paid and their fallen friends. 

 "We came out here to honor those people did not make it through the war that you see laying out there in that cemetry that what it means to me," says WWII veteran LA Oakes.

While some listen to Governor Sonny Perdue talk about great sacrifice. Others like Shawn Gains took that time to visit those no longer here. His father a veteran of the Koren war recently died leaving his son with the conviction of his words. 

"He said if he had to do again he still would. He said fighting for country meant everything in the world to him and the experience he had over there in Korea. He said he did not think that no body else should go throught it," says Gains.

"For all the freedoms that we have, we just assume that we have, somebody paid for it," says McGhee.

A message of liberty that connects all that gathered here . Many of whom that will walk away truely knowing the meaning of the words liberty and justice for all.

Andersonville National Historic Site is the only park in the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war throughout the nation's history.

posted at 6:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com