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Remembering Prisoners of War

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September 15, 2006

Andersonville - - Today, prisoners of war recount their often horrific experiences overseas. Many POWs died during the course of history, but those who survived live to share the story. 

A ceremony of war veterans remembering some of our nation's bravest heroes.

"It's pretty rough. The first year was, they captured 8,000 people almost overnight. They had nothing to take care of them, no food. They were barely able to feed themselves, much less us," says War Vet. Gary Ousley.

He remembers it like yesterday. He fought in the Korean war when he was 20 years old and suddenly became a prisoner of war.

Today, the Andersonville Historic Site held a ribbon cutting to unveil a new exhibit.

"Who is a POW is not an easy question to answer, it's very complicated and it has all kinds of ramifications so if we get our visitors to leave here pondering this and scratching their heads and wanting to learn more then we've done our job," says Andersonville Superintendent Fred Boyles.

A walk through the exhibit takes you to heart-wrenching moments in history. The pictures bring it back to life for Ousley who recalls below 40 and 50 degree temperatures during war. Many froze to death.

"Just seeing the people dying being hauled off, stripped all the clothes off of them threw them on a cart, hauled them off to dump them somewhere, that's the worst part I saw," he says.

So these folks came to remember those who sacrificed for our country and suffered, but made it back alive.

"But we also want to remember those who are still missing in action, still unaccounted for and their families don't know where they are or what their status is," Boyles says.

"I wouldn't even hope anybody would have to go through that," Ousley recalls.

It's a thought that becomes all too real as he recounts the memories.

Saturday morning, Andersonville will hold a Memorial Service featuring veterans from the Rolling Thunder Chapter of Gainesville, Florida. The service will be held at 10 am.

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