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Honoring today's troops

May 19, 2007

Andersonville - - It's a day we put our political differences aside and pay tribute to those who proudly serve our country. All over the country Saturday, Americans recognized Armed Forces Day. 

The sound of Echo Taps could be heard all over the country Saturday. Here at the Andersonville National Historic Site, it was no different.

"We started it here at the museum and then we had three more buglers in the national cemetery and they each in sequence played Taps until the last note," says Volunteer Mark Stibitz.

Jim and Ann Hartman understand why the occasion is significant.

"All of the men and women and families that help America be who we are," Mrs. Hartman says.

The day is to honor not just those who paid the ultimate price, but especially those who continue to serve today.

Jim Hartman's great great grandfather died in the Civil War back in 1863.

"There's no pictures of him or anything and it's been a mystery to me who is this man and trying to find out about him," he says.

That's why he feels it's important to pay tribute to our active duty soliders now so that history isn't erased.

Though we live in a time where there strong opinions on war, Andersonville staff say those serving in war, shouldn't be discouraged.

"Even though we have dissenters, they have that right to dissent. But even though they do dissent, they are patriots also. They're just displaying their patriotism in a different manner," Stibitz says.

Because when it comes down to it, those who serve do so so we can enjoy the spirit of freedom.

"Going to work and coming home and not being under servitude or oppression, a lot of things we take for granted," Ann Hartman reflects.

A reminder each time Echo Taps sounds through her ears. 

Andersonville is also preparing for Memorial Day. They will hold a ceremony at 2:00 p.m. on the holiday, featuring the first African American Four-star General.

For more information on the history of Armed Forces Day, you can visit this website.

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