By LAUREN KIRKWOOD
6:15 PM EDT, June 15, 2012
With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam approaching in September, the war’s “angel of the battlefield” will be immortalized in a bobblehead figure to be handed out at the June 23 Hagerstown Suns baseball game.
Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, will be commemorated on 1,000 bobbleheads in the seventh annual giveaway sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the Suns.
The bureau started planning for the bobblehead giveaway about a year ago, said Tom Riford, the bureau’s president and chief executive officer.
“This bobblehead is not about generals and soldiers,” Riford said. “It makes sense, because it is all about help and all about healing.”
Reminders of the conflict will also be present on the field, where the Suns will wear Civil War-themed jerseys the night of the game, said Bill Farley, the general manager of the minor league Suns.
“Bobbleheads and baseball go hand-in-hand,” he said.
The jerseys will be auctioned off after the game, and proceeds from their sale will be donated to the American Red Cross, Farley said.
Last year’s bobblehead was a likeness of Civil War Capt. Ulric Dahlgren. In years past, the figurines included Gen. George Washington, Boonsboro romance author Nora Roberts, Maryland Symphony Orchestra Director Elizabeth Schulze, Civil War Gen. Abner Doubleday and Little Heiskell.
The first time Barton assisted wounded soldiers on a Civil War battlefield was at Antietam, Riford said, making her an especially apt historical figure for this year’s bobblehead.
“She was a heroine herself; she was a true American leader,” he said.
Julie M. Barr Strasburg, the executive director of the Washington County Red Cross, said she was proud to have Barton commemorated with a figurine.
“I think it’s an honor for women who served during the Civil War and wars after that, that they can be honored as heroes,” she said.
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