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Luminary at Antietam today - Other Eastern Theater - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006 12:23 pm
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Widow
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Today I'm going with Shotgun and his wife up to Antietam for the annual Luminary.  It's a deeply moving event to see 23,000 candles shining in the dark along the park road, each representing one casualty of that dreadful day.

Civic groups work together to set out the little paper sacks, weighted with sand and with a votive candle inside, in precise parallel to the road.  Sometimes there are six parallel lines of candles on each side, depending on the contour of the terrain.  The park gate opens at dusk, then the cars drive slowly along the one-way road, with headlights off.

You can't see all the candles at the same time because of the terrain.  Still it's overwhelming.  It really makes you think hard about the sacrifices on 17 Sep 1862.

The sky is clear this morning here in Fairfax County, but the 70-degree temps of the last few days are gone. Shotgun knows a lot about the battle, so we'll probably walk around, bundled up to our ears.

Patty



 Posted: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006 01:17 pm
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javal1
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Widow,

Have a great time! You couldn't ask for better company - as you know Shotgun is a first-class gentleman. Please tell him the crew at CWi sends our best.



 Posted: Sat Dec 9th, 2006 07:44 am
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Widow
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The Luminary at Antietam on Saturday, 2 December, was so deeply moving.  I can't describe what it looked like, much less how it affected me.  So instead I'll let you see for yourself.  The official photographer of the Luminary has this website:

http://www.valleystudio.net

The studio offers calendars, posters, notecards, and other products with the photos of the Luminaries.  Most especially click "Links to Slide Shows."  It installs a program called Photodex, then click "a photographic journey."  Then right-click for a full-screen view.  The Luminary slide show runs 6 minutes and is breathtakingly beautiful.

Shotgun and his wife were so kind to take me with them.  He and I talked, or rather he talked and Patty listened, but didn't remember very well.  We walked over some of the ground, where he pointed out particular features and actions.

Patty



 Posted: Sat Dec 9th, 2006 05:24 pm
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Fuller
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Patty,

Very cool that you could attend.  I admire your passion about learning and about life in general.  Thank you for sharing the link to the luminaries.  We are lucky to have you on the board.

Fuller



 Posted: Sat Dec 9th, 2006 05:55 pm
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Widow
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Fuller, thank you for your kind words.  "Enlisting" in the Civil War community has changed my life completely.  It's pulled me out of the hole I slid into after my husband died.  But I'm back now, and look out, 'cuz I'm a private in the mounted artillery!

Patty



 Posted: Sat Dec 9th, 2006 06:31 pm
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Fuller
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I promise to mind my Ps and Qs.  I'm saluting my screen as we speak.



 Posted: Sat Dec 9th, 2006 09:39 pm
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Regina
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I appreciate the link to the slide show on the illuminary at Antietam.  I cried watching it--imagine if I actually went ?!  Actually, my sister was able to drive through, since she lives nearby in Frederick, and she said she had quite a good cry for herself.  I'm in CT but I'm going to arrange my days off to go next year, for sure.  I plan to find out if I can set up candles--I can make up for taking those bones from the battlefield last summer :?



 Posted: Sat Dec 9th, 2006 09:44 pm
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Fuller
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Hey Regina, I think you are the only one thinking about those animal bones now.  There have been plenty of times when others have had the chance to learn from my mistakes.  Other people have read your posts and learned. 

 

Last edited on Sat Dec 9th, 2006 09:50 pm by Fuller



 Posted: Sun Dec 10th, 2006 09:20 am
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Widow
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Regina,

I'm so glad you felt as moved as I did watching the slide show.  The pictures taken from the top of the tower are just stunning.  Also the candles in the snow.  What could be more beautiful?

About volunteering to set out the candles at Antietam---

Last year, my first Luminary, I asked at the Visitors Center if they needed any help.  The answer was that there is a waiting list of several years for the priviliege.  This year some 1,200 volunteers worked all day, members of civic groups such as Sharpsburg Elementary School PTA, Boonsboro High School NHS, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Frederick County CW RT.  You get the idea.  (I copied those names from the printed program, not from memory.)  First they set out the candles in those magnificent straight lines.  Then, starting around 3:00, they begin lighting them.  The spectators have to wait outside the park until the job is done.

Your sister in Frederick may be a member of one of the volunteer groups.  Or knows someone who is.  With that connection, you might be able to be a "volunteer" volunteer, slip in the side door.  Last year I chatted for a moment with a volunteer from North Carolina who was visiting her sister, so yes, it can be done.

Wear warm clothes, it gets mighty cold out there on those open fields, especially if there is any breeze.

If you decide to come down from the Nutmeg State, let me know.  Maybe I can link up with you and your sister, and we can all be surprised at what we really look like.

double chin-grin ---> ((:

Patty



 Posted: Sun Dec 10th, 2006 05:04 pm
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susansweet
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Patty those pictures were so inspiring .  Made me wish I could be there , but I am n California to far to go or one night. 
I envy you living so close to all the battlefields so you can wandered the ground often. 

I got bitten with the Civil War bug four years ago as I drove cross country when I saw a sign that said Pea Ridge as I was headed up to Missouri to see a friend.  I said to myself, that's a Civil War Battlefield I should see it .  A few hours later I was hooked. 

Next stop was Wilson's Creek.  I bought two books . Life of Johnny Reb and Life of Billy Yank. When I got home I signed up for a adult school class for seniors on the Civil War. 

The class was taught at the high school.  It was mainly watching videos once a week. I was the one madly taking notes on everything.  I took the second half in the winter .

Then  I took off east again , this time I planned my whole cross country trip to see as many battlefields as I could in two months. I started at Fort Yuma and worked my way to  Fort Jefferson Davis in Texas and so on all the way to the coast and back home stopping off at Glorietta Pass. 

When I got home I found the Civil War Round Table and Drum Barracks at a reenactment here in Huntington Beach.  The rest as they say is history. 

 



 Posted: Mon Dec 11th, 2006 09:22 am
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Widow
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Susan,

What a delightful account of how you got hooked on the Civil War.  And, wow, I'm impressed by your two-month trip to see as many sights as you could.

My story is quite the opposite of yours.  I've lived in Fairfax County since 1965, and never paid any attention to the many Civil War sites around here.  Driving along the interstates, I ignored the exit signs to Manassas, Chancellorsville, the Stonewall Jackson Shrine at Guinea Station, etc.  Yes, I've always loved history, but my focus was international history, not American.  I knew more Russian history than US history!

Many years ago I videotaped the TV miniseries "North and South."  Later I transferred all 12 episodes to DVD, and watched it over and over.  In one scene there was a close-up of a map of Northern Virginia.  All of the roads and place names were familiar to me, and I could see exactly the location of my community of Oakton, right in the middle!  In another scene, a Confederate officer ordered a man to "Ride north around Centreville" to scout the enemy.  Again, right here in Fairfax County.  But still, my interest was simply the passive pleasure of watching the movie, rather than in actively going to any of those places.

Then in August 2005, just out of idle curiosity, I went to a living-history event at a Fairfax County park.  For the first time, I saw reenactors, both civilians and soldiers.  The program included live-firing demonstrations of muskets and artillery, and two skirmishes, but they weren't to commemorate a particular battle.

I talked to a Confederate artilleryman, who answered my questions and let me touch the gun, a 3" ordnance rifle.  I talked to an infantryman dressed in gray, who noticed that there weren't enough Yankees there that day to make a good skirmish for the spectators, so he was going to change into Federal blue.  I chatted with women in period clothing, fascinated by all of it.  Also the four Union cavalry riders let us pet their horses and answered our questions.

I got hooked, lined, and sinkered on the spot.  You know the feeling.  The more I got interested, the more I wanted to learn.  And it was exactly what I was looking for to restructure my life after my husband died.  My physical health and mental outlook have improved enormously, my doctor is astonished.

Through the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, I've gotten interested in battlefield preservation.  There isn't much left here in Fairfax County, and Loudoun County (Leesburg) and Prince William County (Manassas) also face similar pressures from growth and development.

So here I am, living in the 19th century, with occasional visits to the 21st.

Patty



 Posted: Mon Dec 11th, 2006 11:01 am
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susansweet
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Patty I remember at that first reenactment in Huntington Beach park the North Carolinian in the Southern Camp handed me his Enfield to hold so I could see how heavy it was. We sat and chatted for several minutes. 

Funny you live ther and I am in the west but I have been to all the places you named.  I do need to get back there and see them in more detail . 

 



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