Andersonville remembers soldiers and veterans - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Andersonville remembers soldiers and veterans

May 29, 2005

Andersonville- Fallen soldiers and those who have served their country and died were honored in Andersonville. Former POW's, current soldiers, and families gathered at the National cemetery in Andersonville to remember the sacrifices made.

Patriotic tunes from Ft. Benning's Infantry Band and a salute from the Robins Air force honor guard were wrapped with prayers as those who lost their lives in service to their country were remembered.

"We come not only to remember, but to remember with thanksgiving," said Rev. Earl Dunmon, Pastor Andersonville Baptist Church as he prayed.

All military branches were honored with wreaths recognizing the sacrifice that soldiers made. Brigadier General Eugene Payne, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany says it's important to remember what was given up.

"I think that many times we take for granted the sacrifice that they made, so it's always a pleasure to be able to thank Veterans that served in the past," said Payne.

He says, that it's those sacrifices that have a direct affect on today's military.

"The fact that we appreciate the heritage that we've been given and hope to continue that heritage going forward," said Payne.

Some like Lance Sirmans, who served four tours and in Vietnam traveled a distance to pay tribute, but says it's more than soldiers that should be honored.

"We seem to forget about the wives and mothers and to me any mother who's ever went to bed worrying whether she's going to have a son when she wakes up, or every wife who went to bed wondering if she was going to have a husband or children going to have a father. To me they're heroes and that's what memorial day's about for me," said Sirmans of Ooltewah, Tennessee.

Other who have served like Lee James who is now the Commander of the Southwest Georgia chapter of Ex-POW's and was shot down over Germany considers himself lucky.

"I'm one of the fortunate ones, got a lot of friends that are not here, but then our age group are going at a pretty fast clip," said James.

He says that by remembering and honoring the past we can see where we may be going.

"History determines our future," said James.

The Veterans cemetery in Andersonville holds more than 18 thousand graves of soldiers who were killed in battle and veterans.

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