15 November 2012

Antietam

Among the millions of things I've been meaning to do, I have been meaning to post about when my good friend came to visit from far away and we got to take a day trip starring the civil war and a classic mini cooper.  The mini is a perpetual scene stealer, though we learned that not everyone would like to have a picture of it (even when you accidentially/kind of knowingly drove in front of them while they're taking a picture)  We probably should have shouted 'You're welcome!' to the guy I made really mad, as his picture was probably much improved by having half pint in it.  The car brings sunshine and happiness where 'ere it goes (except for that one guy).  (Besides, everyone shoots in digital and he was taking a picture of a statue that wasn't going anwhere.  Okay, I'm finished feeling guilty.)


Anyway, we drove out to Antietam national battlefield mere days before the 150th anniversary celebration.  Well, celebration is not right.  I'll just leave it at anniversary.  The story of Antietam is really incredible, and plays out like it was written for the screen.  It seems like it was the perfect storm of Civil War battles, and after becoming acquainted with the details, I find it unbelievable (and unbearable) that the war raged for nearly three more years after it was over.  Ultimately a draw, or a Union victory, or a Confederate victory (depending on whom you ask) Antietam is most famous for incurring more casualties in a single day than in the War of 1812, the Mexican war, and the Spanish-American war combined.

I really mean it when I say unbearable.  Something to take solace in is that the battlefield exists. Unlike Stamford Bridge, there are no sortage of memorials and information and shared historical lessons at Antietam.  I am a firm believer in the value of history.  Not just in knowing that trivial pursuit question, but, of course, in learning the lessons of humans.  Far too many are forgotten, lost, or changed for the convenience of the winner.  But at Antietam, despite its role in laying the foundation for the Emancipation Proclimation and making Sharpsburg into a town people visit, I think I can be agreed that it was a true American tragedy.

That's plenty of wartime reflection for me.  Catch the sister post here and to cheer you up, check out my new favorite website, http://youarenotaphotographer.com/

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