America

'Solemn' Start To Civil War Ceremonies

These lights were shining at Fort Sumter at 4:30 a.m. ET to commemorate the moment the first shots of the Civil War were fired. i i

These lights were shining at Fort Sumter at 4:30 a.m. ET to commemorate the moment the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Alice Keeney/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Keeney/AP
These lights were shining at Fort Sumter at 4:30 a.m. ET to commemorate the moment the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

These lights were shining at Fort Sumter at 4:30 a.m. ET to commemorate the moment the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Alice Keeney/AP

Two beams of light shone into the sky before dawn this morning at South Carolina's Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired 150 years ago today.

The State says "the beams angled in different directions, signifying the directions taken by the Union and the Confederacy." The newspaper says it was a "solemn" beginning to the ceremony at the site.

As NPR's Kathy Lohr reported for Morning Edition, South Carolina was "the first to secede from the Union; now, it's treading carefully as it commemorates a war that left more than 600,000 soldiers dead."

If you're looking to refresh your memory about Fort Sumter and what happened there, C-SPAN.org offers this video of National Park Service historian Rick Hatcher.

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