>> Friday, July 10, 2009
Day 4 (July 4) was spent lazily getting dressed and sending our friend to get us a good picnic spot on the Antietam battlefield for the night's festivities. Antietam is the site of the Civil War's bloodiest battle. In fact, it is still the bloodiest one-day battle in U.S. history. Each year in early July (usually not on the fourth), the Maryland Orchestra plays American songs to about 30,000 spectators on blankets. About 20,000 people died in that battle. It was very hard to imagine that 2/3 of the crowd would be dead if that war had occurred while we were there. Very mind blowing.
If you look closely in this picture, you'll see that sections have been drawn out on the field so that you can put your blankets down and then still leave plenty of room for walkways. It's very, very organized!
We were right in the front since we staked out our claim early as you can tell from here. We were able to get a congressman's parking tickets so we had excellent parking as well!
While we waited for things to start, I walked around a little and found some canons. These will be used for the 1812 Overture in the program:
I also found older canons that were used in the Civil War:
Just before the show, we got a fly-by of some antique planes flown by veterans. The picture came out crappy, but they were a lot closer than this looks:
The show started and we began with "The Star Spangled Banner" as we watched a flag being raised over the stage. We also listened to several old American favorites as we sipped on wine and beer and stuffed our faces with veggies, fruit, cheese and crackers. Here's Jason & I:
Check out those Popeye arms! Ha ha! Here's our friends Jason & his wife Deb:
We all watched the sunset:
As the sun went down, we saw some flickering lights and realized they were lighting bugs. It has been YEARS since I've seen them and it felt like such an Americana moment as we listened and watched in awe this beautiful sight:
As the last song of the night played, the flag was lowered and the fireworks went off! I think these pictures are too bad for an amateur:
After the loooooong, awesome fireworks show was over, we sat around for about 3o minutes before trying to leave. Although we got amazing parking, it would still take an hour to get out. So, we chatted and finally loaded our stuff back in the truck. By this time, it took about 30 more minutes to get out and head home. Then, we all just watched some boob tube and headed to bed. It was an awesome way to spend the Fourth!