Friday, May 25, 2012

History lessons are not always pleasant

If you’re looking for a fun and games time, don’t go to Andersonville, GA. 

Camp Sumpter, as it was officially known, was the location of the Andersonville prisoner of war camp for Union soldiers during the Civil War. 

Since 1998, it has also been the location of the National Prisoner of War Museum which is dedicated to the men and women of this country who suffered captivity.  It is not a happy place to visit, but one that tells the story of sacrifice and courage.

IMG_8305Other than these two outside images, I have no other pictures of the Prisoner of War Museum.  I was too moved by the tales told inside to want to take any pictures. _MG_8308
There were many first person video accounts of what POWs experienced, and the effects on them and their family members.  As I walked through the various rooms of the museum, I found myself with a lump in my throat, and near tears at times.  It was certainly a sobering experience.

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Outside, I was able to participate in a ranger lead program on the Andersonville prison camp.  The stockade originally enclosed a little over 26 acres.  In that relatively small area up to 32,000 Union soldiers had been interred at one time on the bare earth.  They had to devise their own form of housing as none was supplied.  Their only water was from a small stream that ran through the impoundment.  It was hardly drinkable water as the stream was also used for bathing and as the latrine for all of those men.

This ranger gave a group of us a tour.  I must say that while he imparted non-stop information and statistics for 45 minutes straight, he was about as interesting as reading an old history book.  He lost the young folks in the group in about two minutes.  It also didn’t help that the temps were nearing 90, and the gnats fairly coated my arms and legs while trying to gain entry to my eyes and ears. Smile with tongue out

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After having lunch in the picnic area, I did the drive through the Andersonville National Cemetery.  Nearly 13,000 of the prisoners of war at Andersonville died from malnutrition, dysentery, and gangrene infections.  Considering the polluted water supply, even a small cut could result in death.  I don’t know how so many survived.

After Andersonville, I decided to stop by and visit a couple of my friends in Plains, GA.  While Jimmy and Rosalynn aren’t fulltimers or bloggers, they were happy to see me.  They even gave me a little bag of peanuts.   Yah, right!

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But I did visit the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains.  I had to pass up brother Billy’s Gas Station Museum as I knew by the time I drove the two hours+ back to the rig, Emma would have been in the rig for over nine hours.  Time to head home.  I did add several new stamps today to my National Parks Passport though.

I would certainly recommend a trip to Andersonville if you are up to that sort of emotionally historic experience.  As for Plains, GA, as the ranger said, “It’s a work in progress.”  You might as well stop if you are in the area.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy