Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal."
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow, this ground—The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us —that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Narrator: Over 260 volunteers joined staff at Andersonville National Cemetery this weekend to help place flags in front of headstones. An American Flag is placed in front of headstones to commemorate Memorial Day.
Girl Scout 1: We went to Andersonville to put the flags down on the people’s graves who died for their country.
Girl Scout 2: I feel it’s important because we need to honor those who died for their country and just remember all who died, even if they’re unknown and some people may not realize who they are.
Cub Scout: I’m five, I’m a Tiger Scout. This is my second time.
Narrator: The act of decorating graves at Andersonville National Cemetery for Memorial Day began in 1870. Approximately 20,000 individuals are buried at the national cemetery at Andersonville National Historic Site.
Operated for only 14 months near the end of the Civil War, the military prison here at Andersonville held nearly 45,000 prisoners of war. A lack of shelter, adequate food, and clean water led to the deaths of 13,000 men here. Can you picture yourself at Andersonville? I'm Ranger Brad Stribling. Take time during National Park Week to contemplate the stories of sacrifice in America's national parks.
About 150 African-American soldiers were believed to have been held at Andersonville. Of those 150, over 30 are known to have died at Andersonville. A number of the African-American prisoners were from the famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry.