Dishonor to Honor

Today I met a young army officer who was hanged ten times and lived to fight another day.
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I volunteer at the National Infantry Museum at Ft.Benning /Columbus GA. The museum is dedicated to infantrymen past, present and future and honors the uncommon valor of the infantry soldier. The best part of volunteering at the museum is being able to thank all of the visitors who have served and are currently serving their country. If you are lucky enough to get a chance talk to the visitors you learn their stories.
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This brings me to the young officer I met today. Who hasn’t had, or doesn’t know someone, that has held an unusual summer job? I have to say, this one rates in the top of any list. One summer this young man worked at Andersonville National Historic Site.
Here he portrayed Henry Wirz who was tried and hanged for war crimes for the treatment of prisoners of war at Andersonville. I won’t give away the behind the scenes devices used to ensure our actor could hang for his crimes more than once. He did tell me he made sure the equipment was tested before every hanging. Having the rope put around his neck was very realistic, and while a technical failure would not result in death, he figured it was possible to suffer a broken ankle in the fall.
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Should you find yourself in our area, Andersonville is located just about sixty miles from the National Infantry Museum. At the Historic site there is also a museum serving as a memorial dedicated to the courage and sacrifice of all prisoners of war in any era.
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I am happy to report the officer I met is now a West Point graduate serving his country with honor. On a side note, this was not the only museum service of this delightful young man. He once worked in Salem Massachusetts. Yes, I asked, he did NOT put on a dress and portray and a woman accused of witchcraft and hanged.


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