10 Country: Pete Repeats History - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Pete Repeats History

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November 16, 2006

Grady County   --  A few special people help those who cannot help themselves, and they do it by making sure that family legacies remain in tact.

A special man got a wake-up e-mail one day that caused him to devote part of his life to those who no longer have a voice. "Yes, sir, they are made out of heart pine," says one of the pall bearers, of the two wood coffins being slid into the back of a horse drawn wagon.

Bare wood holds the remains of a special man and his wife, buried about a 100 years ago in what people thought was their final resting place, in a wooded area about five miles South of Cairo.

Sometimes, a person's final resting place isn't final. Old grave sites vanish, along with family memories that slide away with each generation, but some people, like Pete Giddens, take great strides to rescue a person's past. "I think you should remember where you came from and honor your ancestors and remember the sacrifice and hardships they went through," says Pete, preparing for a special service.

Pete's interest in finding out about his past started when someone asked about his heritage and he had no idea of his ancestry before 1880. "I should know more about my history than this," says Pete as he started researching; finding a rich military heritage he didn't know existed.

"I've found and identified 14 ancestors of mine who fought in the Confederacy," says Pete with pride in his voice.

He joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization that welcomes anyone who wants to respect history, who wants to accurately recreate it and who wants to teach others about the Civil War. "Yes, sir, that's correct," as he stands in an authentic first lieutenant's uniform and commands an artillery unit.

A hunter found the grave sites of David Shores and his wife in very poor condition, in danger of being crushed from logging equipment working nearby. If something wasn't done quickly, their graves would get lost forever. Pete and his friends from Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia held a historically accurate re-interment service for a husband and his wife, like funeral services held in the late 1800s.

"It's a team effort to choreograph all of this," says Pete. Several men carried the wooden coffins to the grave site and stood at attention. Others sat on horses that escorted the funeral procession to the graveyard; Two rows of men in uniform stood patiently.

One of their complete uniforms, with musket, can cost a thousand dollars. "We want his remains and his wife's remains protected," says Pete who participated in five re-internment ceremonies. Some of David Shores decedents saw something only their grandparents got to experience about hundred years ago.

Toward the end of the ceremony, the Confederate flag that draped the coffin was folded and given to a member of the Shores family, and soldiers gently used ropes to lower the wood coffins into their final resting places. Then, each soldier paid their individual respects before Pete ordered two cannons fired in their honor.

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