“a permanent place of honor for those who died for us”
Andersonville National Cemetery was established to provide a permanent place of honor for those who died in military service to our country. The initial interments, beginning in February 1864, were those who died in the nearby prisoner of war camp. Today the cemetery contains nearly 20,000 interments. Administered by the National Park Service, Andersonville National Cemetery uses the same eligibility criteria as cemeteries administered by the National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The brochure says to allow 2 hours for your visit. If you're a history lover, you'll spend that time just in the POW Museum. I spent 6 hours total at the prison site and the cemetery - could have easily spent more. Be prepared for sections of the cemetery being closed to the public when funerals are underway.
Make sure you watch the introductory video in the Theater (we normally skip these, but this one was VERY well done and crucial to really understanding what happened here). This ranks somewhere in the top three of "most depressing national monuments" we have been to, but it is incredibly informative. The visitor's center is dedicated as a POW/MIA center that looks at POW throughout American history. Very moving. I cried. Really makes you think about and question what we are currently doing with Guantanamo Bay. Stop in and stay a while.
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Andersonville National Cemetery
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