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Park superintendent says Klan rally won't disrupt other events

April 27, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

Despite a scheduled rally of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, events at Antietam National Battlefield will go on as planned, the park superintendent said Wednesday.

People participating in a five-kilometer run the same day as a Klan rally set for June 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. likely will not even know the rally is going, John Howard said.

"Odds are they will not even know setup's happening from the other end of the park," Howard said.

The race is in the morning, Howard said, and according to a permit signed by Gordon Young, the commander of the World Knights, setup for the rally can begin at 11:30 a.m.

The U.S. Constitution is cited as the authority allowing the Klan to use the park.

According to Howard, Klan members will park in a seldom-used lot and travel by van to the Mumma Farmstead, where the rally will take place. Other events will go on as scheduled elsewhere in the park, he said.

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Howard said Tuesday though the park's priority is honoring those who fell at Antietam, the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in U.S. history, denying a free-speech permit to any group would be very difficult to do.

"Our role here, the battlefield is here to commemorate the fighting and the soldiers who fought and died here," Howard said.

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