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Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination

A flickering tribute to the soldiers dead, wounded and lost during the Battle of Antietam.

A flickering tribute to the soldiers dead, wounded and lost during the Battle of Antietam.

December 05, 2002|by KEVIN CLAPP

kevinc@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - For up to two hours, in a parade of headlights snaking along Md. 34, the vehicles will wait to begin a silent vigil in honor of fallen heroes.

Barring poor weather, the 14th annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

For five miles, more than 2,000 cars will pass through the Sharpsburg historical site, quietly making their way amongst more than 20,000 candles.

Each representing someone killed, wounded or gone missing during the single bloodiest day in U.S. history - Sept. 17, 1862, when Union and Confederate troops entered battle on fields outside of Sharpsburg - the 23,110 candles have been painstakingly created and cared for by roughly 1,200 volunteers.

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The luminaires, candles placed in paper bags and anchored with sand, are placed 15 feet apart across 300 acres at the battlefield.

Tended to by the volunteers, candle flame will flicker until the last car passes through the memorial. Scheduled to conclude at midnight, the illumination has been known to extend into the wee hours of Sunday morning to accommodate all who wish to pay their respects.

All the while, living history groups will huddle around campfires in period dress adding an authenticity to the proceedings.

In case of inclement weather, the illumination will be postponed one week to Saturday, Dec. 14.




If you go


14th annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination

Saturday, Dec. 7

6 p.m. to midnight

Antietam National Battlefield

Md. 34

Sharpsburg

Vehicles enter battlefield via Md. 34 and exit onto Md. 65.

Free, but donations accepted.

For information, call 301-432-5124 or go to www.nps.gov/anti/home.htm on the Web. In case of high winds or heavy precipitation, the alternate date is Saturday, Dec. 14.

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