Andersonville Historic Site to close without budget deal
Fri, 08 Apr 2011 22:09:26 GMT —
There's more fallout from a potential government shutdown. Many federal services will cease if a deal isn't struck by midnight.
It has major implications for a national park in Southwest Georgia on the eve of a very big milestone.
Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of one of the most infamous chapters in American history, The Civil War.
A big piece of that history lies right here in Southwest Georgia, at the Andersonville National Historic Site.
"When this park was established we were asked to tell the story not only of this civil war camp, but also of union prison camps in the north, that held confederate prisoners; the overall story of prisoners of war in the civil war," said Brad Bennett, Superintendent of the park.
Right now is one of their busiest times of the year, with about 150 people a day coming to check out the former prisoner camp.
"It's beautifully and wonderfully laid out and it's something that I had heard about and studied about for 30 years and I thought it was time to come and visit," said Mike Dahl, who was visiting from California.
"I read the book Andersonville when I was in high school, so I've always been interested in what happened here so it is very interesting," said Lon Emelander, who was visiting from Michigan.
The prison at Andersonville didn't open until three years until after the start of the Civil War, but played a very key part in its history. At one point it held as many as 45,000 union prisoners.
"13,000 of those prisoners perished during the operation of the prison and are buried in what is now Andersonville National Cemetery," said Bennett.
As that anniversary looms the historic prison along with nearly 400 other national parks may be forced to close, if a federal budget isn't passed.
"In the unfortunate event that there is a shut down, we and all of the national parks will close," said Bennett.
It's something that's not sitting with people who enjoy these parks.
"Today, they were going to take us out on a tour. They couldn't do it because they were short handed because they had to go to a planning as to what happens if they close down tonight," said Dahl.
"It's just another political game that everyone is playing, and I'm just really upset about what I see happening in Washington," said Emelander.