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Woman, 82, rededicates war monument

September 18, 2000

Woman, 82, rededicates war monument



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


In 1920, then 2-year-old Albina Benner pulled a U.S. flag from the newly built World War I monument on Sharpsburg Square, unveiling a permanent reminder of those who had fought and died in the war.

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The little girl had lost her father, Alvey Benner, to pneumonia while he was stationed in Europe with the Army.

While she was too young to remember the meaning behind the unveiling, Benner - now Albina Roulette - said the monument has become a special memorial for her father and for others who have fallen in pursuit of freedom and honor for the country.

Eighty years after the first dedication, Roulette rededicated the monument Sunday afternoon in a wreath-laying ceremony during the Sharpsburg Heritage Festival.

"It was very special," said Roulette, who will be 83 next month. "It's something to remember."

Roulette's walk to the monument was preceded by a march from re-enactors of various wars along West Main Street to the monument, located in front of Town Hall. Onlookers packed the square as the re-enactors saluted the monument and fired rounds while "Taps" played in the background. Roulette then placed a wreath before the memorial.

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"I thought it was very beautiful," she said.

Roulette has remained a Sharpsburg resident all of her life.

Skip Lushbaugh of Sharpsburg said the message Sunday was not to praise war, but rather to remember and learn from the past.

"We don't glorify war," she said. "But you have to learn from the heritage of our past.

Re-enactor Charles Marvil, who organized the event, urged that children and teenagers be taught the country's heritage and the meaning behind the wars.

"We as a people ... do not take the time to teach our young people about the sacrifices that have been made," Marvil said. "Those that forget our heritage and our past are doomed to repeat it."

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