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Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and Meritus Health Collaborate on “Resilience and Remembrance in a Pandemic” Luminary Display

As part of the annual Antietam Memorial Illumination this year, Meritus Health and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (HCWHA) teamed up to develop a very special luminary display entitled “Resilience and Remembrance in a Pandemic.” The display will be set up on the lawn of the Newcomer House on the Antietam National Battlefield, 18422 Shepherdstown Pike (Rte. 34) Keedysville, MD, on the afternoon of December 4 and the luminaries will burn until the early morning hours of December 5.

“This year, the memorial aspect has taken on an even deeper meaning as we struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to acknowledge those whose lives have been lost to the virus and to honor those who have been fighting on the front lines of our health care system,” said Elizabeth Shatto, Director of the HCWHA. “Leadership at Meritus Health quickly welcomed our request to allow their staff to personally write dedications on this year’s luminaries. We encourage the public to stop by the display (after 3:00 p.m.) to read the heartfelt dedications,” Shatto continued.

“Meritus Health is grateful for the opportunity to partner in our community in this visual display of how health care professionals have been a light in the midst of the very dark COVID-19 pandemic that has taken the lives of so many of our friends, family and neighbors. We would encourage everyone to take a few moments of time this holiday season to reflect on the words of our Meritus Medical Center staff included in this special luminary display at the Newcomer House on Antietam National Battlefield.”
Maulik Joshi, president and CEO, Meritus Health

A luminary display at the Newcomer House has for many years been an adjunct event to the Antietam Memorial Illumination, which features hundreds of acres covered with 23,110 luminaries honoring the casualties suffered on September 17, 1862, American’s bloodiest day.

The Newcomer House serves as an exhibit and visitor center for the HCWHA. It will be open from 10 AM to 4 PM the day of the illumination. Volunteer docents will be available to share knowledge about the Newcomer House and aid visitors within the three county Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. Masks will be required when inside the Newcomer House.

The Newcomer House is open weekends in April, May, October and November and daily June-September. For more information, contact Newcomer House Manager Rachel Nichols at or (240) 308-1740.


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