Because part of my job as a mentor and man-builder is to educate the Spud, I took him to the National Battlefield at Antietam so he could learn about the day that 23,000 men, some his age or younger, were killed and wounded on this relatively small patch of Maryland farm country.
Here's a 10 pounder Parrott Rifle, a rifled piece that was state-of-the-art at the time. This one was made in 1864, too late for the Battle of Antietam, which took place in 1862.
But I think what impressed the Spud about war--real war, as opposed to his video games--was when we were in the museum and he saw the surgeon's kit that contained little more than a big saw used for removing limbs. And of course there were battlefield implements like this one:
Here's Spud and my mom at the Dunker Church, center of the Confederate line on the first day of the battle.
And here's the Lower Bridge over Antietam Creek, known today as Burnside Bridge after the vainglorious Union General who threw thousands of men against six hundred crack Georgia sharpshooters who were entrenched atop the ridge just beyond it. Before the bridge was taken, Antietam Creek ran red with blood clear to the Potomac, blood of countless young American men.
The most recent one was found in 2008 and it's pretty much a given that there are still more out there, American men who never made it home from their sojourn into Maryland while wearing either blue or gray.