I thought I’d pause from the historically-oriented post after post of late to write something about several of the most recent groups I’ve met at Antietam. Writing this blog as a support to the Antietam Battlefield Guides organization is a primary purpose for all of these words – now numbering 94 postings since the turn of the year.
The three most recent visitors I’ve encountered are rather representative of the varieties of folks who make the wonderfully wise decision to come to this most pristine treasure of American history.
1. A Texas Family – I’ve run into quite a few Texas families this year, which is always cool with me. I lived there for five years and loved the experience. This family of mom and dad and two high school students and an elementary child were just great people from Houston. It was clearly an outstanding family; the kids were all interested and engaged in the discussion, and everyone asked good questions.
2. The Exeter Academy Group – This was a small bus group from New Hampshire, of folks connected through generations of experience with a private school there. There were people of all ages in the group (many alumni), but they all shared the common trait to be found in most folks who come to Antietam – they were intentional life-long learners. Numerous members of the group were prepared with advanced readings and maps and other resources. Several were taking notes. And all were interested throughout and fully engaged in the dialogue. Everyone in the Guides program loves groups like this!
3. Scouts from Michigan – A really great group of fathers/sons connected with scouting came to Antietam as a part of their several-day biking trip along the C&O Canal. For those who don’t know, this is a roughly 180 mile dirt/stone canal pathway along the Potomac River from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown in the District. The Battlefield is just about four miles off the trail. We toured around the field in a series of vans that they had – stopping at the three major sites. Again – great kids, great families, totally engaged in the information, asking good questions, and simply enjoying the experience.
It is through a collection of days and groups like these that I retain some hope that not everyone out there is blowing off the value of being historically informed and enlightened. And it is a joy to meet people like all of these mentioned above.