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About 600 people walk through Rose Hill Cemetery to remember loved ones during the holiday season

December 09, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • People gather under the Remembrance Tree to hear Christmas Carols before a candlelight walk in Rose Hill Cemetery Friday evening.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

With candles cradled in their hands, about 600 people made their way through Rose Hill Cemetery Friday night to remember their loved ones during the holiday season.

Since the 1990s, the Hagerstown cemetery has hosted a candlelight walk with its annual tree lighting to bring comfort and hope during the holidays to those who have lost a loved one, said Bill Divelbiss, executive vice president of the cemetery.

"A lot of people are really sad tonight," Divelbiss said. "We do this to lift their spirits at this time of year."

This will be the first Christmas for Sheila Cook and her family since her sister, Gale Ruth Shapiro, died, Sheila Cook said.

Being at the cemetery Friday was uplifting for the family, Tom Cook said.

The Cooks and their family carried a candle to the grave of Gale Shapiro, and to the graves of Robert Binau and Albert Poffenberger, Tom Cook said.  

As part of the ceremony, those who were able were welcome to take a remembrance walk to the mausoleum through the cemetery along paths lined with luminaria, Divelbiss said.  The Good Time Trolley was driven by Jim Burns to transport those unable to walk.

About 2,000 candles in bags lined the paths through the cemetery, Divelbiss said. Those candles, as well as the candles given to each person, were intended to be placed at graves.

As in years past, a more than 60-foot pine lit with about 900 lights stood at the entrance to the cemetery, Divelbiss said.

Music was provided by Rick Conrad on the bagpipes and the Emmanuel United Methodist Church choir, he said.

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