Interesting Tour Groups and Families From 2011

As I look back over my list of groups and people with whom I’ve met in 2011, there are really some very interesting situations. It is always enjoyable to meet new people and hear their stories and what motivated them to come to Antietam and connect with the Battlefield Guides.

Here are some of those groups and stories from 2011:

Great Groups

–          Northland International University – a really great group of upbeat college students

–          Westminster Academy of St. Louis – a group I connect with annually – who come to my church in the morning and hang out with me at the Battlefield in the afternoon.

–          Hickory Christian Academy – a very impressive group of 9th and 10th grade students – many of whom literally sat on the edge of their seats all the way around the field!

Great Families

–          A mother from Cumberland, MD brought her son and a group of his friends as a birthday present for the boy – AGE 9!!  The young man knew everything I was going to say before I said it! It was amazing!

The kid in the hat KNOWS Civil War history!!!

–          Home-schooled family of 12 children – This family was so big that they owned a limousine to carry them all! And I drove it!

–          Couple from New York City who had an ancestor killed in action at Antietam. We were able to find the grave of the soldier who fought with the 28th Pennsylvania.

Funniest Moment of 2011

Objects against the sky

On many tours, as we go south toward the lower part of the field, it is possible to see the 9thNY monument on the next ridge – marking the farthest advance of the Union Army’s final attack. As well, one can see a water tower on the south edge of the town of Sharpsburg. I regularly point out where A.P. Hill’s Confederates halted that effort with their flanking counter-attack, and follow that by stating that “the distance between the two objects represents essentially how close Robert E. Lee came to being wiped out at Antietam.”

And to make for a light-hearted moment, I go on to say, “And if Lee is bagged at Antietam, you know what that means? Likely the war is over. And though there is a town named Gettysburg, there is no Gettysburg Battlefield; and if there is no Gettysburg Battlefield, there’s no Gettysburg Battlefield Tour Guides who (voice raising) get 100 times more tours THAN WE DO HERE… DO YOU THINK I’M BITTER ABOUT THAT?”  And typically everyone laughs, and we go on with the tour.

Well, one day, I had a very nice husband/wife in the car, and the man certainly seemed to know a lot more about the Civil War than most people I meet. And right after my “funny” line, he looks at me and says, “I should probably tell you who I am… I’m one of the tour guides at Gettysburg.”

OH MY!  I was caught! But we had a good laugh and a great time together. He was interested in learning a little more about Antietam and just experiencing how someone else did tours! I’ve done the same at Gettysburg. The guides there are really good, and we really do honor them for all they’ve done for many years at that special place.

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed 3-4 hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and am the editor of a Baltimore/Maryland sports blog called "The Baltimore Wire." My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with a Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

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