Hundreds walk to remember loved ones

December 05, 1997


Staff Writer

Vanessa Barnhart talked her six South Hagerstown High School buddies into joining her on the remembrance walk from Rose Hill Cemetery to City Park where hundreds of people watched the Christmas tree lights go on for the 1997 holiday season.

The four-block walk made by Barnhart and her classmates was in memory of J.R., her brother who died from meningitis when he was 5. He's buried at Rose Hill.

Barnhart's mother Vickie walked the four blocks with her other daughter, Verena, 5. "We've been doing it for four years now," Vickie Barnhart said.


The walk is made each year to remember lost loved ones during the holiday season.

Also waiting for lights in the park to be turned on were Helen Fox and her daughter, Brenda Hughes. This was their first year for the walk.

"I'm doing it for my husband, Robert C. Fox. He died this year," Fox said. "This will be our first Christmas without Dad," Hughes said.

More than 500 people stood in Friday night's cold at Rose Hill Cemetery for the lighting of the 70-foot Remembrance Tree and its 750 lights. Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II welcomed the crowd.

William Divelbliss, manager of the cemetery, said he handed out 500 candles in cups to those who came to the cemetery. "That's how we know there were more than 500 people," he said. Every year this gets bigger and bigger. When 500 people show up you know that people care. This is the fifth year for the candle walk and 10th year that we've lit the tree," he said.

Only the more hardy of those who attended the cemetery ceremony braved the night chill and walked to the park.

The South Hagerstown High School choir sang Christmas carols at the cemetery and later at the park.

A cheer went up from the throng when the Christmas tree in the lake lit up. Moments before, lights on the lawn across the lake had been turned on. They included silhouettes of snowflakes, trees, deer, swans and an angel.

After the ceremony those who wanted to warm up went to the Mansion House and Hager House for free food and drinks.

The Herald-Mail Articles