Volunteers honor veterans at Andersonville National Cemetery - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers honor veterans at Andersonville National Cemetery

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
Caitlyn Patton (Souce: WALB) Caitlyn Patton (Souce: WALB)
Lauren Patton (Source: WALB) Lauren Patton (Source: WALB)
Jody Mays (Source: WALB) Jody Mays (Source: WALB)
Adam Hartley (Source: WALB) Adam Hartley (Source: WALB)

Hundreds of volunteers came out to the Andersonville National Cemetery this Memorial Day weekend to honor our country's fallen heroes.

One by one, 9-year-old Caitlyn and her sister 11-year-old Lauren read aloud the names of Civil War prisoners buried at the Andersonville National Cemetery.

As their feet walked across the hallowed grounds, it was a solemn reminder of the price of freedom.

"You almost feel sad for them because all these people died but sometimes people have to die in order to make you feel good for your country," said Lauren Patton.

It's a learning moment.

"I thought there was only a little group of people but I didn't know this many people died," said Caitlyn Patton.

There are 21,000 veterans buried at the Andersonville grounds. On Saturday, the two sisters and their family were some of 240 volunteers who helped place a small American flag at each grave.

Adam Hartley was also one of those volunteers.

His great-great-grandfather and his brother are buried at the Andersonville National Cemetery. Hartley used today as a time to educate his son.

"Since I've been a kid they've been saying if you forget about the past you're bound to repeat it. Over 600,000 men died in the Civil War. That's a lot of people," he said.

As the flags flutter in the wind, the Andersonville grounds become a classroom with lessons taught without uttering a single word.

"It's important to remember that sacrifice and value, the cost associated over our whole history from the Revolutionary War to today of what we have paid as a nation," said Jody Mays, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management at Andersonville National Historic Site.

Caitlyn and Lauren hope to make the event a family tradition.

Andersonville National Historic Site will host a Memorial Day Observance Program at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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