Few signs of celebration at battlefield

July 07, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

Overturned empty trash cans dotted the grounds of Antietam National Battlefield on Sunday, marking the spots where more than 25,000 spectators attended Saturday's 18th Annual Salute to Independence.

Park Ranger Brian Baracz, who was handing out battlefield brochures left and right Sunday at the visitors center, said that by noon on Sunday, visitors were shocked to hear so many people had been on the grounds the night before.

Park Superintendent John Howard said about 40 to 45 rangers and about 10 to 15 volunteers cleaned up a majority of the park by 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

"Everybody commented that there wasn't a lot (of trash) out there," he said.

More than 30 portable restrooms, minus the long lines, remained in a row off to the left of the stage. The crane that hoisted the American flag above the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's stage still lingered Sunday afternoon. The stage did not.


Two vendors' tents stood awkwardly, providing shade to nothing.

Howard said the restrooms and the crane will be removed between today and Tuesday.

Baracz said the parking lot emptied out in an hour and 15 minutes, but he wasn't sure how long concertgoers were stuck on Md. 65 exiting the park.

"We had a great crowd," Baracz said. "Everyone picked up their stuff."

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