A step back in time
Sunday evening’s Antietam Remembrance Walk allowed all of us who participated to take a step back in time, at least in a sense. The three-mile journey made by hundreds of participants allowed us to get only a brief taste of what the walk was like for thousands of soldiers traveling from a battlefield to receive help.
Of course, we were not wounded and we walked on a nicely paved expanse of highway rather than facing the uneven ground found by those who were shot, stabbed or otherwise impaired in their journey. We traveled across a beautiful bridge, even taking a few moments to capture the river in its beauty with modern-day cameras. Soldiers in 1862 had to ford that river, leading to further exhaustion and exposure to more germs and infection in wounds already compounded by the long trek and the hot temperatures.
The portrayal of the wounded by Shepherd University students was an outstanding addition to an already wonderful event. The provision of water to the wounded on the steps of Town Hall and the recitation from the writings of a Civil War-era woman who helped those men made the event much more riveting. Adding to the performance was the candlelight ceremony. Adding candles in the hands of hundreds of individuals always makes a moment more memorable. The playing of “Taps” as the candles burned caused goose bumps to rise and those in attendance to stand in solemn silence remembering all who gave their lives in that, the bloodiest single day in American history.
Kudos to Meredith Wait and the 250 committee who helped organize the event along with their counterparts in Sharpsburg, Md. We need to take time to learn and then re-learn the history of our country and the sacrifices made by those who not only fought but who dealt with the ramifications of war at the time. Taking an annual like back at an event that helped mold the country into what it is today is the least that we can continue to do.