Thursday, April 27, 2006

Antietam's Fleeting Stain

Antietam National Cemetery

With sadness, I read the news that the Ku Klux Klan received approval to march on the hallowed grounds of the Antietam National Battlefield. Some will understandably say that these hooded men and their message must be challenged. On the same fields where so many died for their beliefs, we could do no less. Others will plead that we ignore their display to deprive them of the publicity they so desperately seek. Lacking the desired conflict and confrontations needed to attract and recruit others, their numbers will fall and their mission fail.

I say that I am saddened by the presence of a group so inextricably linked to hatred and by the coming act which detracts from the focus of those beautiful, sacred grounds. On September 17, 1862, thousands of men lost their lives as our country struggled to save its immortal soul. Countless more emerged from the fog of battle no longer whole in mind and body. The fields of Antietam serve to remind us of their desperate sacrifice and our storied heritage. This offensive stain, while mercifully fleeting, does neither the veterans of that field nor our shared history the justice they have both earned and deserve.

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