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Antietam Battleground 23,000 luminarias

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The annual Memorial Illumination is "held the first Saturday in December because it provides a maximum amount of darkness and the battlefield leases about half the park to local farmers. The later start gives them time to clear their crops."

Nearly 23,000 luminaries are placed to honor each soldier killed, wounded or missing during the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.

"It's a tangible way to see 23,000," said Keith Snyder, chief of resource education and visitor services for the battlefield. "This was the bloodiest day in American military history. It's four times D-Day, six times Pearl Harbor and it's so hard for people to understand. So this way, you can drive through six miles of tour roads and see candles as far as you can see, each one representing one of those casualties. It's an amazing sight."

"We have about 1,000 volunteers, which to me is the most amazing part," Snyder said.

Of the volunteers, the largest are the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, some of whom came from beyond the Tri-State area. Snyder is most happy about the Scouts' participation because one of the battlefield's missions is to get youth involved.


I will have to see this some day.

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Without a historical background before going, one misses the depth of understanding necessary to get the full impact of such situations. 

Standing on the parapet of Ft. Sumter on can only then be impressed by how far away the Confederate forts were and how in the world could they ever hit the tiny fort on the tiny island from that distance.

Standing on the west side of the road next to "the Cornfield" at Antietam, one would miss out on the fact that the youngest Congressional Medal of Honor awardee stood and fought in an artillery battery.

Jenny Wade (only civilian casualty of Gettysburg) had a house that she left and went to her aunt's house where she was baking bread to feed the union troops.  Jenny's house was 4-5 blocks behind the front lines, her aunt's house was in no-man's land between the two lines.

The largest Indian War (Sioux Uprising of 1862 was fought in Minnesota during the Civil war and the same soldiers that fought that war also marched into Atlanta on Sherman's March to the Sea and were in the Grand Review in Washington at the end of the war.  They covered more territory than any other unit in the Civil War..... they were infantry.

Standing on Hallowed Ground can only be fully fathomed with the reality of what went on in these places. 

If the Scouts visit these sites, they should know the reason why they are there in the first place.  Be Prepared.

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