Sept. 17 is of historical note

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Monday, Sept. 17, marks one of those historical turning-point events with major consequences to this country. (It is) a day not unlike Pearl Harbor, 9/11, or unlikely battle victories during the Revolutionary War. Except this day is pretty much forgotten by the public. Maybe most have heard of Antietam and what happened at Sharpsburg, Md., 150 years ago but I wonder if most realize what eventually resulted from the single bloodiest day in American history. Up to that date, President Lincoln and the North hoped for a conciliation of the South, that after several battles during the first year-and-a-half, the South would eventually come back into the fold. With no major battle victories, Lincoln realized this now had to be a war of subjugation, a total war effort to militarily defeat the South and drive them back into the Union by force. President Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation in July of that year but could not implement it until the North had a major military victory. That was Antietam, where 23,000 to 25,000 Americans were killed or wounded in about 12 hours of engagement. Actually, it was pretty much a stand-off except General (Robert E.) Lee vacated the field due to excessive losses compared to his fighting force. So, with emancipation, black slaves began to leave the plantations and move north. Eventually about 180,000 ex-slaves fought in the Union uniform. Big day for all Americans. Kent Campbell, Auburn