Thursday, January 2, 2014

Honoring the Fallen: Memorial Illumination at Antietam National Battlefield

December 7, 2013 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Memorial Illumination at Antietam National Battlefield.

23,110  candles are placed on the battlefield by innumerable volunteers to honor the casualties of the September 17, 1862 Battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day in all American History.

The event is sponsored by Antietam National Battlefield in cooperation with the American Business Women's Association and the Washington County Convention & Visitors' Bureau.

Volunteers representing Union and Confederate soldiers stand around campfires while the lines of vehicles pass by, viewing the luminaries.

Vehicles line up on Maryland Route 34, hours before the event, waiting for their chance to enter the battlefield via Richardson Avenue.

 It is an awe inspiring experience both to view the luminaries and participate as a volunteer.  I had the honor, this year, along with other living historians representing Battery B, 4th U S artillery to stand around a campfire at the intersection of Dunker Church Road and Starke Avenue.  While not attempting to be a modern day Alexander Gardner I was able to sneak in a few photographs. Cannot wait until next year to do it all again.