Sharpsburg memorial stones cleaned in time for Veterans Day

Sherry Greenfield
Herald Mail
Saturday, October 17, 2015
SCA Intern Kathryn Averette and NPS Ranger K.C. Kirkman clean a headstone at Sharpsburg

SCA Helps NPS Prepare Historic Site

SHARPSBURG — Sharpsburg may be a stone’s throw from the Antietam National Battlefield — the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history — but it’s the memorial stones in Town Square that are getting some much-needed attention.

The Sharpsburg Historical Society, with help from the National Park Service, spent Friday morning scrubbing and cleaning the three memorial stones that honor the soldiers who died during World Wars I and II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Although the history and age of the stones is unknown, historical society members believe it is the first time they have ever been cleaned. Thick lichen, fungus and moss had grown and collected on the stones, along with a black residue in the crevices.

“They were relatively noticeable for sure,” said Vernell Doyle, president of the historical society. “They were covered in lichens and moss and staining from the biological growth. We wanted them clean.

“I thought that the historical society would do a good job for the town to have them in better looking shape for the Veterans Day ceremony and also Memorial Day, because these stones are a memorial to the men and women who fought for this country and died for this country. They are also a reminder of those times in addition to memorializing the people whose names are on the stones,” she said.

K.C. Kirkman, a ranger with the Cultural Resource Division of the National Park Service, along with Kathryn Averette with the Student Conservation Association, a nonprofit group that engages young people in hands-on environment work, lent their help in the cleaning process.