Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history – the Battle of Antietam. More than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederacy’s first major invasion of the North and gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Photo by National Park Service.
President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Bison Range on May 23, 1908, when he signed legislation authorizing funds to purchase suitable land for the conservation of bison – making it the first time that Congress appropriated tax dollars to buy land specifically to conserve wildlife. Since then, the National Bison Range in Montana has played an important role in the successful recovery of these magnificent animals. Today, 350-500 bison call this refuge home. Photo courtesy of Bob Wick.
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to attack the U.S. – two planes were flown into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City and a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard the fourth plane, Flight 93, the U.S. Capitol was saved. The four aircraft strikes killed nearly 3,000 people, the deadliest attack on American soil by a foreign entity.
Today the National Park Service, its volunteers, and its partners work to honor their sacrifice and to try to understand more fully the legacy of Flight 93 and the other events of 9/11. We will #NeverForget.
Photo from the Flight 93 National Memorial by Tami A. Heilemann, Interior Department.
Labor Day recognizes the contributions of the American worker. On Chicago’s south side, Pullman National Monument helps tell the story of one of the first and most famous company towns in America. The Pullman Company – a major manufacturer and operator of railroad cars – had periods of cooperation and conflict with their workers. An 1894 strike gained sympathy for the plight of workers and directly led to the designation of Labor Day as a federal holiday. Photo of the Historic Pullman Foundation’s mural, “Visual Interpretations of Pullman,” by National Park Service.
A pivotal moment in American history, the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom brought together Civil Rights leaders and supporters in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial to push for change. The culmination of the historic day was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Speaking to a crowd of over 250,000 on the National Mall and millions watching on TV, Dr. King expressed his hope that one day “we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” Photo of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by National Park Service.
On this day in 1864, President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant, protecting the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley – an area that would later become Yosemite National Park. It was the first time the government protected land because of its natural beauty so that people could enjoy it. Thanks to John Muir’s passionate writing to further protect the delicate ecosystem of the High Sierra, Yosemite National Park became our nation’s 3rd national park 26 years later. Learn more: https://on.doi.gov/2xPYUz3. Photo courtesy of Menx Cuizon.
Today we’re celebrating our national bird, the bald eagle, for American Eagle Day. On June 20, 1782, the bald eagle was placed at the center of the Great Seal of the United States and remains an inspiring symbol of our country. After a dramatic recovery, bald eagles are found in every state but Hawaii, soaring high and inspiring the nation. Photo from the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River in Alaska by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management – Alaska (@mypubliclands).
One of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous buildings, Fallingwater has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture.” Harmonizing with the surrounding forest, rock and water, this famous home rises over a stream known as Bear Run near Mill Run, Pennsylvania. Numerous buildings designed by Wright are designated as National Historic Landmarks, joining over 2,500 exceptional places that help tell the story of art and history in America. Photo by National Park Service.
Today marks the 74th anniversary of D-Day. A major turning point in World War II, the Allied landings at Normandy established a foothold in France and helped bring an end to the war the following year. Encountering fierce resistance, American courage won the day at Utah and Omaha beaches and at airborne assault points inland. On June 6 alone, almost 1,500 Americans were killed. Photo of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall & Memorial Parks by National Park Service.