|Salute to "Skip" Wells (photos by ANHS volunteer Hugh Peacock)|
About 1,000 people attended this past weekend’s living history event at Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia. Among the ceremonies was one honoring Marine Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells, 21, of Marietta, Ga. Wells was a living historian who attended programs at Andersonville and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, where he was a volunteer with the park artillery crew. These remarks (courtesy of his office) were made by U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), who represents southwest Georgia.
“Good afternoon. Thank you for your introduction park Superintendent Charles Sellers. We have been blessed with a beautiful day today at the Andersonville National Historic Site.
"As we are gathered here today, I would like to recognize and thank all our veterans and service members – our family, our friends, and our neighbors – for the sacrifices made to defend and protect this great nation. Your contributions are unparalleled, and your courage and bravery have made this world a better place to live.
"This afternoon we have come to hallowed ground. Whether today is the first time you’ve had a chance to view the Andersonville Historic Site, the National POW Museum and Memorial, and Living History, or whether you’ve visited many times, you will always come away with a deeper appreciation of the courage and sacrifice that is depicted here.
"Andersonville is home to everyone who stands up for our veterans, POWs, and service members. And as we are reminded today, Andersonville is home to everyone who helps make sure America remembers what our brave men and women endured in defense of freedom for the rest of us.
"Today, we gather for a somber occasion. We pause to honor the memories of Squire “Skip” Wells, whose life was sacrificed during the tragic shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee last July. We can never forget the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price.
"Thanks to the vigilance of our armed forces, terrorism does often strike so close to home. But last year, it struck at the heart of Georgia when a young Marine from Marietta and four other Marines were gunned down in Chattanooga by a terrorist with a vendetta.
"Those that knew Lance Corporal Wells have said he was a proud Marine, a devoted Christian, and a true hero. But Skip was also a young man with pride and honor and love for his family.
"The death of Skip Wells, the four other brave service members who died in Chattanooga, and the millions of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines throughout the years have not only given us their lives in defense of our nation, but have given us so much more. They gave us their futures, and all the love and hopes and dreams that will never be felt or experienced.
"Nothing we say will replace the loss, the heartbreak, and the pain of his family and friends, those who knew him best. But we can remember the ultimate sacrifice of Skip Wells, today and tomorrow. May we never, ever, forget the great men and women who stand in harm's way every single day and protect our homeland. Certainly, as it is said, ‘This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.’
"May God bless our service members, and may he continue to bless the United States of America.”