CLEARFIELD -- Rather than hear and see pictures pertaining to U.S. history, students at Clearfield High School were treated this week to touching a piece of history.
As part of the school's Civil War history studies, students on Thursday and Friday had the opportunity to touch the battle flag of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.
The 4 1/2-foot-by-8-foot flag, property of a Clearfield High School alumnus, was displayed in the JROTC room for all to see, said JROTC instructor Maj. Kit Workman.
Students were allowed to touch the 160-year-old flag after washing their hands with soap and rinsing them three times to remove any soap residue, he said.
Workman said he met the media-shy owner of the flag this spring and he offered to share his valuable treasure with the students.
The flag is being displayed in conjunction with the 147th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
"This was an emotional experience," Workman said. "To understand the significance of the symbol of America is gripping."
The flag was designed by Sherman and carried in the Chattanooga campaign and through the March to the Sea, Workman said.
"On the flag is the blood of 17 men and four horses," Workman said of DNA testing performed on the flag.
"I was really surprised and pleased by the response of the students," Workman said. "Many of them were caught up in the emotion, and as the word got around, seeing the flag became the popular thing for students to do."
Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams said displaying the flag and allowing students to touch it brings history to life.
"It is very difficult for students to go to Gettysburg (Pennsylvania)," Williams said of bringing the emotion of the Civil War site to students.
"To have a piece of history sitting in the classroom is amazing."
Williams was also surprised students were given the opportunity to touch the flag, but "I'm sure the kids have a sense of history and they are not going to damage it."
Workman said before the flag was put away Friday, he thought two-thirds of the school's student body had seen the display.
Williams said Clearfield High has a student enrollment of 1,541.