The historic Antietam Christmas Illumination and wreath sharing on graves is a must see here in the Shenandoah Valley. The amount of history that surrounds us living in this area is incredible – and around this time of year, a lot of it comes alive. We have to remember that back in the 1800’s Virginia and West Virginia were one state with Maryland right across the river. There are Christmas time home tours that explore historic landmarks, there are walks and light shows set up in some of the most notable landscapes, and this weekend, there is the largest memorial illumination in the United States with 23,000 illumination candles lit not by power but by candles and the dedicated effort of volunteers.
On Saturday, December 2nd, in Sharpsburg, Maryland, Antietam National Battlefield will host their Christmas Memorial Illumination. This event is hosted in cooperation with the American Business Women’s Association and the Washington County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and is in honor of the soldiers who fell during the Battle of Antietam.
It begins at 6:00 pm, and you will start at the main entrance on Richardson Avenue off Maryland Route 34. The event is a driving tour, about five miles long, and you are not permitted to stop along the way. There are no bathrooms along the route, and the line of cars to enter can be up to two hours long, so please plan accordingly.
You will receive and event brochure at the beginning of your tour which will tell you all about the battlefield and accompanying landmarks along the way. Over 23,000 luminaries will be lit, signifying one for each soldier who was killed, wounded, or missing at the Battle of Antietam. This is truly a moving experience that the whole family will appreciate. Enjoy the history, teach the kids about the Battle, and experience the astounding beauty of the luminaries lighting up this battlefield as far as the eye can see.
**If the event has to be rescheduled because of the weather, the make-up date is the following Saturday, December 10th**
More information on the event can be found here at the National Parks Service Website.