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Editorial - An event to remember

September 11, 1997

In an interview this past summer, Dennis Frye, the president of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, was asked why the ordinary citizen should care about the 135th anniversary of a brutal, bloody event that took place at Antietam Battlefield more than a century ago. His answer bears repeating:

"We don't study death and killing, but rather those things that come about as a result of war - leadership, decision-making, sacrifice and honor, all the things that make us wholesome human beings."

Those things, and not a 135-year-old body count, were what was commemorated this past weekend at the Artz farm on Rench Road. The sweep of the action and the perseverance of the re-enactors, as dedicated as any actors who ever won the Academy Award (and more authentically attired) was thrilling. If you didn't see it, you missed an historic event.

We note that today not because the weekend's activities need any more coverage after the fact, but because just as the war demonstrated what could happen when people come together in a cause, this event showed what Washington County can do, when a variety of people and organizations resolve to work together.

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A major event that drew nationwide publicity was pulled off because many dedicated local officials, the Artz family, citizen volunteers and corporate sponsors worked months prior to the event to make sure that all the details were handled and every conceivable situation was planned for.

The result: Tens of thousands of visitors came away with what we hope is a favorable impression of Washington County. Some will return, no doubt, and some may even decide that this is a nice place to live, or maybe even to locate a business. It is what tourism, when done properly is all about - giving those who visit the good feeling that the trip was worth the trouble and the dollars that were spent here. To anyone who had a hand in it, our congratulations.

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