Sunday, February 26, 2006

Andersonville is a NPS site at the location of the dreaded Camp Sumter. Like The Habitant Discovery Center here one does not have to travel all the way to Germany or Poland to walk about the grounds of a death camp. At the main entrance of the Site is the National POW/MIA museum where the Park service has faithfully recreated the experience of being a prisoner of war. At the beginning of the museum one enters a room with that simulates being captured by the enemy. Here rifle barrels point out or the darkness and spotlight shine in your face. As you make your way through the museum you encounter bamboo tiger cages, leg shackles and all sorts of nightmarish photos. The experience makes one wish they were back in the faux hovels of Americus.

Leaving the POW experience I drove out to the National Cemetery at Andersonville part of the Park complex. Here some of the thousands of graves of those who died in the death camp are arrayed in neat tight rows towered over by state monuments.

The site of the death camp itself is a rolling grass plain with a small creek running though it. Nothing remains of the original camp but there are some recreations of ramparts, gates and shebangs, the jerry built hovels that the unfortunate occupants of camp lived in. The small creek whose water was a major cause of death and disease has a sign over it telling visitors that it is still not fit for human consumption.

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