Memorial Day represents a time for the nation to pause, remember and honor the service of deceased veterans and military members who died on active duty. For many Americans, the weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer and includes activities such as backyard barbeques or vacations to a lake or beach. For others, the weekend is a time for somber remembrance of family members and friends whose sacrifices are recognized by a grateful nation. Beginning with citizen gatherings nearly 150 years ago, Memorial Day is the most significant annual ceremony in Andersonville National Cemetery. Today, this patriotic holiday is observed by the National Park Service with a multi-day series of public activities.
Vietnam Veteran Clarence "Tiger" Davis will be the featured speaker at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, 2013, at the annual Memorial Day Service in Andersonville National Cemetery.
A native of Wilkes County, Georgia, Davis' family moved to Baltimore in 1948. After high school, he served four years in the United States Air Force. He is a former Post Commander of the Otha Spriggs Memorial American Legion Post, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Black Vets of All Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America. In November 1982, Clarence was elected to the House of Delegates of the Maryland General Assembly where he held several leadership positions prior to his retirement in December 2006.
In preparation for the ceremony, on Friday, May 24, volunteers will raise the Avenue of Flags along the roadways within the cemetery. In the morning of Saturday, May 25, scouting groups and other volunteers from across the state of Georgia will remember and honor the sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces by decorating the nearly 20,000 gravesites within the cemetery with American flags. Volunteers also take down the flags Tuesday morning, following the end of the holiday. Additional information can also be found at: http://go.nps.gov/memorialdayandersonville
"The Memorial Day weekend is a time when people visit cemeteries and memorials en masse," remarked Superintendent Brad Bennett, "national cemeteries such as Andersonville are focal points for this remembering precisely because of the thousands of veterans buried here. Volunteers have long been an important part of making the holiday a success, and we are excited to provide a new way for groups andindividuals to participate through our Cemetery Warden program."
Cemetery Wardens will act as ambassadors for Andersonville National Cemetery, seeking to inform, educate, and involve visitors to better understand the meaning of the Memorial Day holiday as well as the lessons of heroic sacrifice found at Andersonville. Volunteer wardens will have the opportunity to serve four-hour shifts in the national cemetery, assisting visitors and straightening the grave site flags as needed.
Groups or individuals wishing to participate in the Cemetery Warden program should contact Chief of Interpretation and Education Eric Leonard at 229 924-0343, ext. 201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, GA and 10 miles northeast of Americus, GA on Georgia Highway 49. The national park features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter. Andersonville National Historic Site is the only national park within the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Park grounds are open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with the museum opening at 9:00 a.m. Admission is free. For more information on the park, call 229 924-0343, visit on the web at www.nps.gov/ande/ , or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/AndersonvilleNPS .