By Jon Bruce
CHARLESTON, S.C.(WCIV) -- Hundreds gathered in White Point Garden and lined the rail of the Battery Tuesday to commemorate the exact moment Confederate forces fired the first shot on Fort Sumter in the pre-dawn hours of April 12, 1961.
It wasn't the roar of cannons or fireworks, but rather a quiet and somber concert of hymns that marked the first shell fired at 4:30 a.m. 150 years ago.
In the gazebo, set underneath the towering trees; mothers, fathers, children and adults listened to the brass instruments in a program titled "When Jesus Wept."
Across the harbor, the old fort was basked in the colors of our nation – protruding towards the heavens, a single beam of light shown brightly in the night sky.
At 4:30 a.m. the beam was split in two – representing the division of those dark days that pitted the Union vs. the Confederacy.
Michael Hague traveled from Charlotte to mark the anniversary with his daughter Hanna, a student at the College of Charleston. Both said it was an important moment in history they felt compelled to mark.
"It's just such a special event," Hague said. "150 years ago this country was in the process of being divided and who knew if it was going to be once and for all. You just have to stop for a moment and just think about what these people went through and the decisions they made at the time to break the country up and to leave their families."
Soon after the program ended, groups of spectators gathered along the banks of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers to watch the ceremonial first shell launched across the sky.
A group of well-dressed Charlestonians watched and sang songs of Dixie, posing for pictures with Confederate re-enactors.
Philip Middleton, President of the Fort Sumter Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said it was important to be on hand to mark the conflict that shaped the nation.
"We all wanted to make sure we were here in this spot across from the memorial to be here to commemorate the events of this morning," he said. "It's obviously a very telling and meaningful thing that occurred here 150 years ago."