Friday, September 17, 2010

Antietam, usually on my insufficient terms

America's bloodiest single day was on this day so many years ago. Sept. 17, 1862.

What was called a tactical draw turned out to be a significant strategic loss for the Confederacy at the Battle of Antietam.

I'm sure you've read 23,000 Americans were killed, wounded, captured or missing that day. It's the kind of trivia we throw around.

When I think of Antietam, I think of the beauty of the Maryland fields, the leaves turning color in autumn. The quaint Burnside Bridge. A nice walk along Sunken Road. The bucolic Dunker Church.

I haven't been to the site for years, and I'm always wistful when reading about it.

What I don't usually think about is the horror of that day. The mangled and missing limbs. The chaos and terror that filled the breasts of so many young soldiers. Opportunities lost. Lives snuffed out.

On this clear morning, I'm taking a moment to remember them.

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