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Old monument is rededicated

May 06, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

One hundred years ago, the state of Maryland honored President William McKinley, a veteran of Antietam, with a monument honoring fallen soldiers from both sides of the Civil War battle.

Saturday, Maryland and National Park Service officials rededicated the Maryland Soldiers Monument before a crowd of about 100 people. The 35-foot granite and metal domed monument is the only one on Antietam National Battlefield that honors soldiers from both sides of the conflict.

"It was incredibly moving," said Nina Kelly, a California resident on a Civil War battlefield tour.

Maryland Secretary of State John Willis, who spoke at the event, recalled how Maryland went from being at the center of the conflict more than 130 years ago to being "in the forefront of reconciliation," as shown by the monument to soldiers who fought for the North and the South.

Several members of the Washington County delegation to the General Assembly were also on hand for the ceremony.

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Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington, called on the crowd to "dig your heels in and feel the history."

That process was helped along by the two bands of Union and Confederate re-enactors, who played period music between the speeches.

Seven re-enactors concluded the ceremony with a 21-gun salute.

Antietam Superintendent John Howard said McKinley was a cook during the Civil War. During the battle at Antietam, McKinley was bringing coffee and sandwiches to the troops when a bullet nicked his neck, Howard said.

Antietam was the site of the bloodiest day of the Civil War. There were more than 23,000 casualties there on Sept. 17, 1862.

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