Sunday, May 25, 2014

Taking the final step in a long project - By Michelle Libby

Students in Sabrina Nickerson’s fifth grade class raised $450 to help purchase markers for GAR soldiers after fundraising since September.  According to one historian, the GAR was a similar organization to the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars, but for Civil War veteran. The GAR was discontinued in 1956. 

On Tuesday, the class walked to Arlington Cemetery across the street from their school to replace the rusted GAR markers with new markers that were made in Maine at Auburn Stove in New Gloucester, which poured the bronze and Ken Murch of Falmouth Road did the finish work. The markers were designed by Brian Brigham.

“I’m glad you took part in this project. I’m proud of you,” said American Legion Commander Mel Greenier to Nickerson’s class. “I salute all of you.” 

There were 23 children in the class and 23 graves that received new markers. Each student was responsible for taking down all the information on one grave to bring back to class to research on the Maine Memory Network, a database website with historical information. 

“It was one of the best educational experiences I have ever had with students – a great day!” said Sabrina Nickerson. “I will always remember the looks on their faces, and how they really seemed to listen and appreciate what these men did for their country. I thank them for their cooperation, their hard work, and the reverence they showed by honoring these soldiers with a GAR marker today.”

In attendance to assist the students were Greenier, Vice-Commander Karle Leonard and Peter Morgan, who did most of the research locating the soldiers’ graves. David Manchester, a relative of Civil War Veteran Joseph K. Manchester, was also there for support. 

“All of them were heroes. They fought to preserve the union and make our country more unified,” said Morgan to the students. 

More markers will be placed at Knight Cemetery over Memorial Day weekend by the 3rd Maine Civil War encampment group.

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