Thursday, May 30, 2013

Antietam National Battlefield Week 1

Hey readers, hope everyone is enjoying their summer thus far; I certainly am! For my second year out on the field, I have been placed in Sharpsburg, Maryland, home of Antietam National Battlefield. Unlike my previous internship, I will be spending the summer at a park with mostly historical roots. In case you didn’t already know, the Antietam National Battlefield is the site of the Battle of Antietam (or the Battle of Sharpsburg) during the Civil War which occurred September 17, 1862. I am very excited to be spending my summer here and I hope you all enjoy these updates I will be making here.
My first week at Antietam was already different than my first week at my previous internship in Virginia; albeit just a slight schedule change. I was asked to work Tuesday through Saturday on my first week to assist with the Memorial Day Weekend parade through Sharpsburg.
I spent the first day with my supervisor, Ranger Tom Jones, as he showed me around the park and introduced me to various park employees. My first day was interesting because I had the opportunity to go on a pretty intense tour of every hidden corner of every building in the park. I shadowed Tom as he showed representatives from the National Capital Region various ways motion, broken glass, and smoke detectors keep people in the park safe.
The next day, Tom and I came in at 1 and worked until 9, when the park closed. I learned when the park closes (20 minutes after sunset) and how to make sure the gates and buildings are locked.
Thursday was range day! The LE Rangers at ANTI had to do summer qualifications and I was invited to tag along and watch. During a particular portion of the daylight quals, Ranger Rory Moore and my supervisor Tom used their knowledge as firearm instructors to teach me the proper techniques for effective shooting. Once we got back to the park, Tom gave me some of the responsibility of closing the park now that I had seen it done.
I spent Friday morning at the Antietam National Cemetery helping the fifth grade class of Sharpsburg Elementary School put American flags on the graves of soldiers (and their spouses) who were killed in the Civil War, Spanish- American War, Korean Conflict, WWI and WWII. That is a tradition that has been happening for over 25 years and I felt honored having participated in it. With everything ready for Memorial Day weekend, it was now time for the parade through Sharpsburg that honored that special holiday.

Saturday was the day of the Memorial Day Parade through the town of Sharpsburg. This particular parade is one of the oldest celebrations in the United States. It began with Civil War vetrans meeting at the Antietam train station and walking down the road to the Antietam National Cemetery. And to this day, it is a celebrated tradition in Sharpsburg that I had the opportunity of seeing first hand. 

That first week was great. During that time, I met park employees and began to get a better understanding of the Battle of Antietam and park itself, I really look forward to the rest of the summer at Antietam National Battlefield. 

Till next time
-Jess Cooper 

1 comment:

  1. Jess
    I noticed that your learning a lot about American history there at ANTI, here at INDE I’m doing the same. There are soldier’s buried here in my park as well. Also, I bet watching the rangers qualify was pretty intense. I’m looking forward to seeing what other similarities our parks might have. Have a great summer
    Talk to you soon

    Daviryne Hall