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Annual illumination honors Civil War battle casualties

September 14, 2007

Once a year, more than 23,000 candles glow bright in the night sky over Antietam National Battlefield - a somber reminder of the men who were killed, wounded or missing in the Sept. 17, 1862, Battle of Antietam.

The 19th annual Memorial Illumination is a driving tour of the grounds traditionally held the first Saturday in December.

This year, that will be Dec. 1, with a rain date of Dec. 8.

Luminarias for each of the 23,110 men killed, wounded or missing during that battle cover the fields where the men fell during the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.

The illumination begins at 6 p.m. A line will form on the westbound shoulder of the entrance, off Md. 34 east of Sharpsburg.

The driving tour is roughly five miles long. Drivers are asked to use parking lights only and to continue without stopping. No walking is permitted. Contributions are accepted.

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