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Sharpsburg students place flags on graves

June 06, 2007

Sharpsburg Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Cindy Weaver has been leading classes of students to Antietam National Cemetery to place flags on the graves of fallen soldiers in preparation for Memorial Day for many years.

Weaver, whose son was a fifth-grade student at Sharpsburg at the time, began the activity 19 years ago when she received a call from now retired park service employee Betty Otto, who asked if Weaver's students would help the park service place flags on the graves.

Since then, the honor of placing the flags has been reserved for only fifth-grade students at Sharpsburg Elementary.

This year, the Rev. John Schildt, historian and author, visited Sharpsburg Elementary on May 24 to explain the history and significance of the Antietam National Cemetery.

Weaver's students and the students of fellow teacher Kim Rishell (whose classes have been placing flags for eight years) placed 1,502 flags. After placing the flags, the fifth-graders ate a packed lunch before visiting the Sharpsburg Library to learn about the summer reading program offered by the county libraries. They concluded the day at Nutter's ice cream parlor.

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