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Andersonville's Crumpling Landscape


    A couple weeks ago I highlighted the National Park Conservation Association's concerns over the upkeep, or lack thereof, of our national cemeteries.
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution brings a tighter focus to that post, looking at conditions at the cemetery at Andersonville National Historic Site.
    "We've come to a point in the park where in the last few years it has been difficult to make ends meet. We've had to pinch a lot of pennies to make sure the work gets done," said Fred Boyles, longtime superintendant of Andersonville.
    Time and the elements show no mercy to the structures, some of which date to the 1860s.
    Visitors to today's 2 p.m. Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery are not likely to notice the deteriorating walls that surround it or the mold and algae creeping across some of the older headstones.
    Their attention instead will be drawn to the more than 18,000 graves, the thousands of small American flags fluttering at the head of each and the solemnity of the occasion.
    But those familiar with the park say that without timely increases in the operations and maintenance budget for the National Park Service, which runs the cemetery as part of Andersonville National Historic Site, workers will continue to fall behind in its upkeep.

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