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Every Christmas Eve, sand-filled sacks of candles line the streets of suburbia, lighting the way for Jesus, Santa Claus, and disoriented motorists unaccustomed to driving without headlights. Though this custom makes for the most treacherous night of the year for dog-walkers and other nocturnal pedestrians, it lends a festive ambience to the drabbest subdivision cul-de-sac. At Antietam National Battlefield, the holiday ritual has assumed a somber glow: The luminaries along the park’s tour road commemorate the 23,000 casualties from the Civil War battle that remains the bloodiest single day of warfare in American history. During a sunny daytime visit to Antietam, it’s hard to imagine the slaughter that took place on the now-tranquil fields, but the miles of lit candles should make it easier. Visitors will be allowed to drive the route from 6 p.m.-midnight at the Antietam National Battlefield, Rte. 34, Sharpsburg. FREE. (301) 432-5124. (Eddie Dean)