By Amy Wallot
Buntings hung from the gymnasium stage and tables as 3rd, 4th and 5th-grade students filled the room. They listened as local historians and politicians gave their thoughts on the war and its importance in the area’s history. And they listened to a reading of Gen. Lee’s Order No. 9, his farewell address.
It was all part of a remembrance ceremony at Perryville Elementary School (Boyle County) of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the peace agreement between Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee. Schools and other organizations nationwide participated in “Bells across the Land: A Nation Remembers Appomattox”.
After the speakers, the students separated into Union or Confederate camps. The Confederate students received parole papers. Children on the Union side received Necco wafers, a candy that was around during the Civil War. After the Confederate students were paroled, the Union students shared their candy with them as a way to symbolize the two armies coming together as one nation.
As part of the event, students were encouraged to enter an essay contest answering the question “How do two opposites create peace and unity?” Winners of the contest will be announced later in the school year.
Boyle County Judge Executive told the students, “We can’t understand what it was like to be part of the battle, but we can remember that people can settle their differences in a better way than war.”