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Rose Hill event remembers with light

December 12, 2008

Rose Hill Cemetery, at 600 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown, for years has been filled with light just before the Christmas holidays in tribute to loved ones who have passed away.

This year was no different.

"The first year started with just a tree lighting and a choir singing," longtime Rose Hill Manager Bill Divelbiss said Friday of the event that began in 1989.

Luminarias along the roads in the cemetery were added, and then, for four or five years, those who attended walked to Hagerstown City Park holding candles, Divelbiss said.

Now, there is a candlelight walk within the boundaries of the cemetery. Candles were made available for Friday's walk.

Starting last year, an expanded program attracted 500 to 600 people, and that format continued this year, Divelbiss said.

A bagpiper on Friday led everyone to the mausoleum, where the fireplace was burning for the occasion and refreshments were served. The South Hagerstown High School choir performed, Divelbiss said.

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All parking for the event was at Bester Elementary School. Trolleys were available for people who didn't want to walk to the mausoleum, Divelbiss said.

Memorial bows were sold during the evening, with $2 from each going to The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and Food Resources Inc., Divelbiss said.

The historic cemetery in Hagerstown's South End is 143 years old.

-- Marlo Barnhart

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