My husband and I accompanied my daughter, her husband and my granddaughter to take in the 23,000 luminaries representing the soldiers that fell at the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, Antietam Battlegrounds.
After a two hour wait in the car( we were over a mile away in the line) we finally inched our way to the National Park. The site was surreal, a little spooky and heart breaking.
To understand each of the 23,000 luminaries following a five mile road around the battlefield, represented a fallen or missing soldier was so thought provoking, especially thinking of what our own country is enduring today and fearful it will become worse.
The countryside is beautiful today…the town of Sharpsburg and the university town of Shepherdstown are much like Harper’s Ferry, gorgeous pre-Civil War houses, quaint shops and restaurants, lovingly kept as if time stood still.
We should always learn from the past, always.
When soldiers of two American armies converged on the peaceful village of Sharpsburg, they transformed the once tranquil farms that surrounded the town into horrific fields of combat. This community would never be the same.
Five days after the guns fell silent, President Abraham Lincoln redefined the meaning of the war when he announced the Emancipation Proclamation , No Longer was the conflict being waged solely to reunite a divided country, now this war would also be fought to abolish slavery.
As the years passed, the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest single day battle revolved into a place of reflection and national remembrance.
Though the scars of war have faded from the landscape, Antietam National Battlefield remains hallowed ground. It is a place where America forever changed – a place to ponder the meaning of sacrifice and freedom.
We light these candles tonight to honor 23,000 soldiers of the Blue and Gray who were killed, wounded, or reported missing on September 17, 1862
Presented by American Business Women’s Association Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau