A few years ago Shirley and I decided that we'd take her parents, Dale and Mattie Treadwell of Otis, Maine, on a road trip to Virginia to visit her dad's brother and his lovely bride, Gordon and Lorraine Treadwell. A family reunion event was also on the itinerary in West Virginia, which turned out to be fun and heartfelt. Albeit a long trip by car, it certainly was well worth the "numb bums" we all experienced from sitting too long.

Gordon and Lorraine had a marvelous home that was warm and inviting. The country air was fragrant and alive with unique bird sounds that we don't have here in the Pine Tree State. It was awesome. But something happened that changed my outlook on one of histories most tragic events.

Now the Treadwells and Jewells are a pretty restless bunch. It's a good thing that Gordon and Lorraine had some scenic plans during our short stay. They decided that a trip to Antietam National Battlefield Park would be interesting and educational. It was. And it forever changed how I felt about a tragic time in our American history.

The picture above depicts the sunken road where soldiers hunkered down in the heat of the battle--north and south. It's since been named "Bloody Lane." Piles of bodies filled the road--some say almost to the top. But of course after 150 years it looks vastly different today. But I'll never forget how sad I felt as I stood in that gully, knowing that 23,000 died in that 12 hour skirmish. Nobody won the battle, it was essentially a stalemate.

So, today we remember the many lives lost in the battle of Antietam, and the countless lives lost during the course of the Civil War. May we never visit that uncivil road again.

For more information on Antietam, you can visit this website: National Park Service