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Wayne Johnson Candidate for Congress Shares Personal Connection with Memorial Day Service at Andersonville Cemetery

May 28, 2024 
CONTACT: Campaign  478-739-4196 
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ANDERSONVILLE, GA  / -- This Memorial Day weekend, Army Veteran and Congressional Candidate Dr. Wayne Johnson attended the Memorial Day Service at Andersonville National Cemetery, sponsored by the U.S. Park Service.

Dr. Johnson said that “It was a remarkable experience. A large crowd gathered under a brilliant blue sky, with manicured grounds, a small flag at each of the more than 22 thousand graves of former members of the armed services, a multitude of large flags lining the drive, and an honor platform upon which officiating members were seated. At 1:30pm the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Band opened with music appropriate for the occasion. In the audience were people of all ages and backgrounds who had come to both show remembrance, and most importantly to honor all who have served and are serving in the U.S. Military. Precisely at 2pm the official program began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the playing of our national anthem.”

“The program was highlighted both by Sumter County Sheriff Eric Bryant’s powerful reading of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and by Georgia VFW Commander Patsy Schreiber’s heartfelt and moving address”, said Johnson.

Commander Schreiber served for 28 years in the medical service of the United States Navy, where she healed soldiers and sailors, and comforted some in her arms as these selfless Americans surrendered, as President Lincoln most eloquently stated in his address, “their last full measure of devotion” to their country and fellow citizens.

VFW Commander Schreiber’s address included a most profound question: “Would these men and women we are honoring, be proud of where our nation is today?” Johnson exemplified this question by stating, “This and other core questions is what we will be answering as we set about electing our future leadership for our country, congressional district, and local governments”

During the course of the ceremony, as multiple wreaths were laid and appropriate salutes were presented, Wayne said that he, “looked to the sky, imagining soldiers and family members looking down upon those present, and tears welled up.” He went on to say, “During that moment I resolved to increase my humble efforts to make America a greater nation. I sincerely hope that this same feeling was present in all who engaged seriously in what Memorial Day is all about.”

While at the event, Johnson engaged in conversation with several of the younger people present at the Memorial Day Service, sharing with them, that there is a very noble tradition regarding the on-staff positioning of the American Flag on Memorial Day. This tradition reflects both remembrance and celebration and that, “According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset.”

“This Memorial Day Service on this particular Sunday concluded with a heart-stirring hearing of TAPS, the farewell tribute to those who have served”, according to a VFW Chapter Officer present.


After the conclusion of the program Johnson shared with certain park officials, “this playing of TAPS was just a transition point for me and my family‘s upcoming memorial service at Andersonville for one of my uncles. An uncle I never knew, and who lost his life in WWII. The brother of other uncles who served in both WWII and Korea, and brother of my mother. The son of a disabled veteran from WWI who suffered mightily from machine gun bullets and poison gas in France, but who never regretted serving his country and never once complained about the source of his injuries.”

Johnson further explained that according to research from his brother, Mark Johnson, a Navy Veteran himself, “Carl Snipes Rodeheaver was in the Army Air Corps, initially stationed at Hunter Army Airfield. His unit was deployed to the Philippines as Japan began to expand. The guys arrived ahead of the airplanes. The Japanese forces invaded before the aircraft arrived. Uncle Carl was captured and marched in the “Bataan Death March” to Cabanatuan prison. There are two stories. Some of his buddies came to see our grandpa and said he fell out on the march and was bayoneted by the Japanese. The Army’s official records say he died of malaria at the prison camp. His body and those of other American soldiers were buried together in a mass grave at Cabanatuan prison. Their bones were later moved to a military forensic identification site in Manila.”

Dr. Johnson also mentioned that “a little over a year ago, the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs contacted us to tell us that they needed DNA samples from living family members to aid in positively identifying the mortal remains of Uncle Carl. They also asked where we would like his final resting place to be should his identification be confirmed. Without reservation, or even a second thought, our mother decided it should be at the most important cemetery in the world that honors prisoners of war and guards their memory .......Andersonville National Cemetery”.

While viewing the grave markers of others, Army Veteran Wayne Johnson solemnly reflected, “So, hopefully in the soon to be future, our family along with other service members, will gather at Andersonville for an internment with honors, and the playing of TAPS for Uncle Carl, an American Soldier.”

Dr. Wayne Johnson is an Army Veteran who is a Republican Candidate for the U.S. Congress. He encourages all to vote in the run-off election on June 18. Early voting starts June 10. Your vote is extremely important.

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