Appomattox weekend event commemorates over 4,000 lives emancipated after surrender

APPOMATTOX, Va. (WDBJ7)-- Appomattox is commonly known as the place the nation became unified again after the Civil War. This weekend, the Appomattox Courthouse National Park is telling another side to that story.

Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road in the park will be lined with 4,600 luminaries tomorrow evening. Each luminary has the name of someone who was emancipated in Appomattox after the Civil War ended.

"It is really a contemplative, beautiful moment to witness. And it really gives tribute to the people who were very much affected by the fighting in the civil war," said Robin Snyder, Superintendent of Appomattox Courthouse National Historic Park.

They started this tradition for the 150th anniversary. This is the fourth year doing the luminary program.

Reverend Al Jones went through census and death records and confirmed the names of over 3,000 slaves. Those names are handwritten on the bags by volunteers.

Robert Moeller cut 4,600 wooden blocks to keep the bags in place. He orchestrated a large portion of the project. An intense amount of labor goes into getting the thousands of luminaries set up for people to witness.

"To honor the people that are emancipated here," said Moeller. "It brings home another point of the story. Here it is, the end of the war we've now reached that goal. They're now free."

The event begins tomorrow, April 14th, at sundown. Park staff says the best time to see the luminaries lit up is at 8:00 p.m. Park ground will remain open late.