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OLYMPIA, Wash. - They hadn't gathered together in 24 years, and some of them had trouble remembering the last time.

It was a rainy day, I remember that, said Debbie Gerchak, who was 10 years old when Washington celebrated its 100th anniversary in November of 1989.

Gerchak was one of 300 10-year-olds sworn in that rainy day in 1989 as a Keeper of the Capsule.

The students from around the state took an oath to help preserve the state's history in a unique time capsule.

About a dozen of the keepers returned 24 years later to remove a cylinder which will be filled with artifacts over the next year, in preparation for the state's 125th anniversary next November.

I think it's important to carry on our history to the next generation, said Gerchak.

The current keepers have two duties: fill the 2014 cylinder and select another group of 300 children to keep the tradition going.

Knute Berger, the original Capsule Project Architect, said the founders wanted to come up with a new kind of time capsule.

A lot of them don't survive, they get lost, said Berger, who was on hand for the 1989 and 2013 ceremonies.

Berger said organizers decided if they placed the time capsule on permanent display, above ground, at the Capitol, it would be better appreciated and maintained.

Then we also thought that if we have children grow up with this sense of taking care of it, that we can create this way of handing off this responsibility generationally that will be a fun lesson, said Berger.

No one involved in the program today will likely find out how it turns out. The ceremonies are set to continue until the state's 500th anniversary in 2389, when all of the cylinders will be opened.

I do wish I could be here, said Berger, I wish I could see how the story ends.

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Washington State Keepers of the Capsule

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