From Washington, D.C., if you drive north and west along the banks of the Potomac for enough time, you will come to a peaceful park best known for cornfields, an eroding but still sunken road, and a stone bridge over a creek called Antietam. These are the features of the field that produced the bloodiest day of the American Civil War, and this Monday marks the 150th anniversary of the battle.
In honor of the anniversary, the park welcomed thousands of visitors for a special program today. My wife and I were fortunate to be among them. Because I often write about what the federal government does not do well, it's only fitting and fair for me to note something the federal government does exceptionally well -- the preservation of this sacred site. It's a testament to the knowledge and dedication of the park rangers who have restored and maintained this battlefield, so visitors can walk the land as it appeared 150 years ago.
Here, visitors follow a park ranger up a ridge in the footsteps of the legendary Irish Brigade.