A drive through the South Georgia countryside led us to Andersonville, an American Civil War prison site where nearly 13, 000 soldiers died. It is now a National Park that serves as a memorial dedicated to all American soldiers held captive during any war. Casualties are expected on the battlefield but why did so many perish at Andersonville?
When you walk the grounds, you can see the perimeter of the stockade. The area that had been fenced was approximately 25 acres, with a low-lying, marshy area that served as both a source of drinking water and as a latrine. Although originally intended to imprison 10,000 POWs, the number quickly expanded to 32,000. The area was a mass of lice-covered, skeletal humans who developed dysentery. Death due to the unthinkable number of microbes in the drinking water was commonplace.
Deep in the heart of the Confederacy you are bound to find reminders of a bloody war fought between brothers. There are so many relics of an era of disgust, division and disunion. While rambling about and probing our past, it is difficult to digest the reality of man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man.
In total contrast, a short drive down the road took us to Plains, GA, the home of our 39th President. Regardless of political leanings, Jimmy Carter is inarguably a stellar example of kindness and humility.
“I had this beer brewed up just for me. I think it’s the best I ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot. I think you’ll like it, too.” ~ Billy Carter
Those of us who are of an age to recall the Carter Presidency, cannot forget Jimmy’s colorful brother, Billy. Billy drank beer for breakfast, and was involved in ‘Billygate’ a scandal involving becoming an agent for, and borrowing money from, Libya.
Despite the headaches and public embarrassment, when asked about Billy’s shenanigans, President Carter replied “I love him.”
Plains High School, from which both Jimmy and Roslyn Carter graduated, now serves as a National Historic Site and Museum. Although their personal home is blocked off from public view, the Carters continue to live in the same, modest, ranch-style house they built in 1961.
History lesson is over, class. Sorry to be so boring. The next post is bound to be less cerebral. I wonder if you can still find Billy Beer? It’s going to be near 80F today. I may need to grab a six-pack and a kayak….