Since we had to pick up my younger son in the western part of Maryland on Thursday, we decided to not go all the way back home for the long holiday weekend. We rented a KOA Kottage (complete with kitchen, bathroom, and wi-fi) so that we could get away and relax. It was a fairly low-key Friday where we hung out, and did a little shopping.
We were not too far from the Antietam National Battlefield, so we decided to go their to celebrate Independence Day. We arrived before noon, but already there were lots of tarps claiming space to watch the evening's program. So we claimed a space for ourselves on the hill with a blanket, some chairs, and a cooler. We watched a program at the visitor's center, learning about the Civil War's bloodiest battle. Joe and I walked to the Observation tower to enjoy its lovely view.
We were very lucky that the weather was very pleasant -- not too hot with a nice breeze. When we weren't out walking (or in my case, taking pictures), we read or ate or just hung out.
As the evening came, more and more people arrived. Three antique planes from Hagerstown did a special "fly by". After hours of waiting, the program started with a giant flag being raised behind the stage as we sang the Star Spangled Banner. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra played various selections, both old and new, in tribute to those from our armed forces and those who have fought in our wars.
They played favorites, including the Fanfare for the Common Man and the 1812 Overture, complete with guns compliments of the MD National Guard. Finally, we had darkness and they concluded the program with a series of fireworks which left us going oooo and ahh. It was a good way to celebrate the day.