“We had a great turnout,” said Superintendent Dale Wilkerson.
Wilkerson said the exact total was not yet available for the event, but he estimated it to be “several thousand” that drove the nine-mile route through the battlefield, which was lined with luminary candles for the occasion.
The park illuminated the battlefield with 23,746 candles, each one representing a soldier killed, wounded or missing during the Battle of Shiloh. Saturday’s event was a memorial of the sacrifice made by soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies.
Wilkerson said it took 250 volunteers to help place, light and attend to the luminaries. He explained that about 10,000 of the luminaries were designated to be placed along the road and direct the traffic route.
The rest of the luminaries were placed according to where volunteers wanted to put them. It was noticed by several visitors to the event, that some were creatively arranged into formations such as a cross at Shiloh Methodist Church, or the outline of the State of Mississippi, or military insignia significant to the areas where the luminaries were placed.
Wilkerson said volunteers were allowed to be respectfully creative, “It was kind of their reward for helping out. People volunteer for a variety of reasons and one reason is community spirit.”
He pointed out volunteers were knowledgeable of the history and laid out their luminaries accordingly.
With the significant turnout for Flames of Remembrance, Wilkerson said it is something they would like to see again.
“We will definitely do this again. My goal is for the park to present a variety of programs. This one will be cycled in again. It takes a lot of effort, but the community enjoys it so much that we will do it again,” said Wilkerson.