Fifty years had passed since Lee Kaiss stepped foot in Antietam National Cemetery, but Saturday, the retired U.S. Navy captain returned and reminded a group gathered for a Memorial Day service why their surroundings are so important.
The 67-year-old Hagerstown native told the crowd that the word "Antietam" means something different to people with different backgrounds, from historians to parliamentarians to naval personnel.
Definitions of the word include the site of the bloodiest single day of battle in U.S. history, the catalyst for the Emancipation Proclamation and the name of three naval ships, he said.
"This is the place where I learned the most important values: God, country, family and honor," Kaiss said. "No matter where I was in the world, I always remembered Antietam."