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Cemetery raising money with calendar

TROY, N.Y., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- An upstate New York cemetery that's near financial death may get new life from proceeds of a fund-raising calendar that went on sale Friday.

The Oakwood Cemetery in Troy has long been out of money to maintain its 60,000 graves, half of them dating to the 19th century. So the board of trustees decided to create a calendar showing some of the city's most prominent people seemingly naked in the cemetery.

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They're not really naked, but rather are wearing small pieces of clothing and photographed to look as through they're wearing nothing at all.

"They look naked, but they were told to put on Speedo bathing suits," Terry Page, president of the cemetery board of trustees, told the Albany Times-Union. "That's why it's called 'Cemetery Illusions.'" The calendar will be available at local retailers for $14.95.

Retired Army Col. Charles Johnson, 72, wore a Vietnam-era backpack, a World War II helmet, a Civil War saber and his own Army boots and little else when he posed beside the grave of Gen. George Thomas, the only Union general in the Civil War never to lose a battle.

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"We do need to raise funds to keep this lovely place going," said Johnson, vice president of the cemetery board. "It's truly a walk through history. It's a jewel in the crown of Troy."

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