April 12, 2011

Cannon Fire Signals

Thousand people gathered on grassy point of Fort Johnson to remember the start of the Civil War this morning where at 6:45, a howitzer round was fired into the air, triggering a bombardment of cannons lining the seaport toward Fort Sumter.

A "star shell" was also fired into the dawn sky looking more like a bottle rocket than a powerful wartime burst as a visible command signal to re-enactors posted around Charleston Harbor to begin re-living the attack that started the war, on April 12, 1861.

The pyrotechny company representative behind the star shell later explained the burst was intentionally weak, as a safety forethought to the crowds of people on hand to witness the ceremony. Some of those in said they could trace their pedigree to those who were in Charleston during the attack.

One of the main speakers at Fort Johnson was state Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, who recognized the contributions of those who took part in the war that took more than 600,000 lives. "From their long and costly war they bestowed upon this country enduring peace," he said.

Cannons set up around the harbor will fire throughout the morning in recongnition of the bombardment. "This was history, again, in the making," McConnell said of the ceremony.

Today marks the starting of the 4-year national commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war.

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