Below is a report from the event that provides a full account of what must have been quite an experience. The program for the day was posted on November 22; this fills in the color for the memorable event. Further posts will contain pictures.
On Saturday, November 23, 2013, the Michigan Historical Commission and the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee participated in the Michigan Remembers Gettysburg commemoration in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The commemoration, hosted by the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial History Partners, in cooperation with the Michigan Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), the Woman's Relief Corps (WRC), and others, was an honorable and memorable tribute to the sacrifice of Michigan citizen-soldiers during the Gettysburg Campaign of July 1863.
The event took place on this year’s annual Remembrance Day, which typically takes place on the nearest Saturday to November 19 - the date when President Abraham Lincoln dedicated the cemetery and delivered his now immortal Gettysburg Address in 1863. This year marks the 150th Anniversary of that historic event, and the Michigan Remembers Gettysburg ceremony was our State’s opportunity to observe and memorialize those Michiganders who fought and died for the preservation of a more perfect Union.
In addition to the parade, various ceremonies, and other tribute activities that take place during Remembrance Day, the Michigan contingent started out at 8:00 am in the Michigan section of the National Cemetery. With a crisp, cold and sunny morning at hand, these volunteers placed a small U.S. and Michigan flag at each one of the Michigan graves. Although the stone marker at the head of the Michigan section indicates that there are 171 men buried in this location, research has found that there are indeed more. There are also several Michigan men buried in the U.S. Regulars section of the cemetery. There are over 3,500 Civil War graves in the cemetery, and each one of them at minimum had a U.S. flag placed over it. Every Michigan soldier in the Cemetery received both flags. Michigan white pine boughs and vines were wrapped around the base of the State section stone marker. An evergreen wreath with a red, white, and blue bow and blue ribbon with the silver letters ‘MICHIGAN’ was placed adjacent. With the graves fully decorated and honored, the participants left to participate in the parade through town.
At 3:30 pm the Michigan group, along with many others, gathered at the Michigan section for the formal program and ceremony. Just prior to the start, commemorative buttons with attached ribbons with an inscription that read, “Michigan Remembers Gettysburg; Thank God for Michigan; The Honored Dead – Gettysburg National Cemetery – November 23, 2013” and programs were distributed to all those present. Large flag streamers with the same information were also given to each organization that carried a flag as part of the Color Guard. Bruce B. Butgereit, History Partners member and Commander of the Michigan MOLLUS, welcomed everyone as the Master of Ceremonies and detailed Michigan’s past efforts over the 150 years to honor her fallen at Gettysburg. Keith Harrison, also a History Partners member and past Commander-in-Chief of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) and MOLLUS, posted the Color Guard, and the ceremony began. The cemetery is located on the summit of a hill that overlooks the town of Gettysburg and is subject to the strong winds that come from the valley below. This day was no exception, as strong cold winds blew across the graves stirring over 3,500 flags both small and large alike. The sound of the fluttering flags set to the backdrop of red, white, and blue, towering fully mature trees, monuments and markers, created a powerful scene that will not soon be forgotten by those in attendance.
Michigan Historical Commissioner and Chair of the Michigan CW Sesquicentennial Committee, Brian James Egen, spoke about the importance of remembering the past and then presented a proclamation issued by Governor Rick Snyder declaring Saturday, November 23, 2013, as Michigan Remembers Gettysburg Day. Commissioner Egen also announced that on November 14, 2013, the Michigan House of Representatives adopted House Resolution No. 270 – A resolution to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863, and to honor the sacrifice made by the 90,000 Michigan soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War.
Chaplain Wenda Foe from the Champlin Corps No. 41, WRC, delivered a fitting address. The main portion of the program was conducted by Marcia Butgereit, Past National President of the Woman’s Relief Corp. Jim Paul, Past Commander-in-chief SUVCW, and Paul Davis, Commander, Department of Michigan, SUVCW, assisted by reading the names of the Michigan soldiers buried within the grounds. During this portion of the ceremony, volunteers from Michigan and from the crowd fanned out across the Michigan graves and commenced emptying a small tin of soil over each grave. A three-inch, round tin, labeled with the soldier's name and unit, were placed at each respective grave. The soil, collected from volunteers across the Great Lake State, was from each soldier’s hometown, school grounds, or memorial marker back in Michigan. The scene of these volunteers spreading a “little piece of home” over the graves as the names of the fallen were read aloud filled the cold air with profound homage and commemoration to these honored Michigan dead.
At the conclusion of the reading of the names, Harry Dillon III, 2nd Military District, SUVCW, played taps. Fred Priebe, Michigan resident who portrays Abraham Lincoln, read the Gettysburg Address not more than fifty yards from where it was first recited 150 years ago. Following these few appropriate remarks, several wreaths and floral elements were placed by the various primary participating organizations, including the Michigan Historical Commission. The presentation of these tributes was assisted by Michigan youth, Cecilia Jennett, Jr., Member Champlin Corps No. 41 WRC, and Rylan Vazquez, Jr., Member guide/Guard Gen. John A. Logan Camp No. 1, SUVCW. Chet Trybus, vocalist representing Gen. John A. Logan Camp No. 1, SUVCW, led the gathering in singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Jannine Trybus, President, Champlin Corps No. 41, WRC, provided the benediction. Bruce Butgereit closed the ceremony with final appropriate remarks and thanked everyone for attending.
The U.S. and Michigan flags flown during the ceremony will be retired after several years of service. The flags, along with tins that contained the soil for each soldier, will be sold as a fundraising effort for future History Partners activities. A commemorative Michigan Remembers Gettysburg booklet is being produced of this sesquicentennial project. The booklet will include a history of Michigan in the Civil War, soldier biographies, the story of the Cemetery, then and now photographs of Michigan monuments, remarks from the ceremony, and much more. Each participant in the November 23 program will receive a complimentary copy while others are available at cost. Those interested in purchasing flags, tins, or the Michigan Remembers Gettysburg commemorative booklet should contact Bruce Butgereit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State of Michigan can be proud of the extraordinary effort made by those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Civil War. The Michigan Remembers Gettysburg event was a fitting tribute of commemoration and appreciation. Over one hundred people stood in the cold winds of Pennsylvania to participate in this ceremony and pay their respect to the fallen. It was a great day for Michigan and for remembering a portion of Michigan’s rich historical past.
Brian James Egen
Michigan Historical Commission
Chair, Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee
The Michigan Historical Commission will hold its final meeting of this year on Wednesday, December 4, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor. On the agenda will be, as per usual, a report on the actions and plans of its Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. Also expected is a report on the status of the Ulysses S. and Julia D. Grant Home project. The public is welcome.
Chairman of the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee Brian James Egen delivered these altogether fitting and appropriate remarks today during the commemoration at the Gettysburg National Cemetery; his words speak for all Michiganders:
On behalf of the Michigan Historical Commission and the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, I would like to welcome and thank each of you for attending this very fitting tribute ceremony. Our Commission President, Jack Dempsey, sends his regards as he was unable to attend – he is very much with us here in spirit. At this time I would like to thank and recognize the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial History Partners (especially Bruce and Marcia Butgereit, Keith Harrison and Thom Berlucchi) and the various organizations for producing this special commemoration event.
From 1861 to 1865 Michigan SACRIFICED nearly 15,000 of her brave and loyal citizen soldiers in defense of the great experiment - the United States of America. Additional thousands bore, as mute testimony, the scars of irrevocable deeds and great acts of selfless courage.
Michigan’s tenacious and determined contributions of troops, supplies, civilian soldier’s aid relief, political leadership and moral support were vitally instrumental in sustaining and preserving a more perfect Union.
As a principal defining moment, this monumental conflict put into motion a series of events that has brought us to where we are today as a people and as a nation. Their story - their sacrifice – has woven yards of American whole cloth for a tapestry that continues to be made. Marked by such an indelible impression on our identity, their actions must not be forgotten.
For many of us and countless thousands more, Gettysburg is a special place – whether a fond childhood memory of a family vacation or an affectionate discovery as an adult, this PLACE has become an uplifting, peaceful and exciting Mecca – a destination to which adherents of history aspire. This PLACE - steeped in such deep and rich history the past emanates from the pours of the sublime landscape, the architecture of the old town – history so thick you can breathe it in the air.
150 years distant, this PLACE, to so many, equated intense suffering, sorrow and SACRIFICE as the tidal wave of grief reverberated from here as the cascade Gettysburg carried not excitement, not fulfillment, not joy – but unimaginable pain and loss back to Michigan and to the people of this land. The SACRIFICE, made by not only those who bore the brunt of battle but for those loved and dear ones at home who would never again see that familiar countenance - hear that comforting voice – feel the fellowship of a handshake – tender the warmth of an embrace, is singularly the purpose of our gathering today.
Think of your most cherished loved one back home in Michigan or elsewhere. Undoubtedly your parting exchange was similar, if not exact to – “goodbye, I love you, see you when I get home!” – these men never made it home. These men forfeited their sacred inalienable right to the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for their families, their communities, their nation. These men laid down their lives for you – for each one of us who they would never know.
Let us invoke the considerate judgment of all citizens to commemorate the immortal and extraordinary sacrifice made by Michigan during the American Civil War. The redolent and atavistic nature of their actions, underscored by the magnitude of that sacrifice, compels proud inheritance of and stewardship to their perpetual memory. Let their names be freshly remembered and representative of all Michigan’s sons upon this field who toil and aguish in conflict no more. Please allow today, if not this moment, the 173 Michigan men beneath this sod, to represent all soldiers that bravely followed in their footsteps in defense of our nation. “May life cease to exist if these memories be not cherished in our hearts as things ‘sacred forever’.”
And now, on behalf of Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, I am pleased to present this State Proclamation, issued from his office earlier this month, for today’s commemoration.
In closing, I would like to also announce that in recognition of Michigan’s Civil War service, the Michigan House of Representatives on November 14, 2013 adopted House Resolution No. 270 – A resolution to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863 and to honor the sacrifice made by the 90,000 Michigan soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War.
At a time when the fascination with JFK is centered around the 50th anniversary of his death, it seems more proper to think of his life, of his love for history, how his books sought to understand the present in the context of the past, rather than engage in forgetfulness. I've lost the citation for the item below, but think it came out of the JFK papers, online. I've changed reference to "winners" for I've learned that MOH recipients prefer to think of how they did not win anything, as if in some athletic contest -- though they clearly have won the hearts of those who never forget their sacrifice.
Remarks to a Group of Descendants of Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients
April 28, 1962
Ladies and gentlemen:
I want to tell you how proud I am as President of the United States to welcome you all - those of you who are descended from those who won this Nation's highest decoration and those of you who carry it now - those of you who are interested and concerned about the great war which we had here a hundred years ago.
Whichever side our interests may lie with, or sympathy, I must say all of us are staggered by the courage and casualties which were shown in so many struggles during the Civil War. When you read about companies and regiments going into the battle - at Sharpsburg or in the Wilderness, Petersburg, and the others - and to see the numbers that came out, gives you, I know - and gives me as an American a source of satisfaction to realize that we are the inheritors of that great martial tradition - and particularly those who won this medal, which is of course most coveted and most rare.
So I must say I am delighted that you are keeping alive this tradition. I don't think that there is any feat of arms that is more dramatic than the Andrews Raid - and all the actions of the Civil War, the Indian Wars that followed, and the wars in this century.
And I believe that Americans still have that same spirit and courage. So you're most welcome here. Your credentials to come into the White House are second to none, and we are very glad to have you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 9:45 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. Among the guests were a group of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, the President of the Medal of Honor Society, Luther Skaggs, Jr., officers of the D.C. Civil War Centennial Commission, and members of the national Civil War Centennial Commission.
Prime Minister Macmillan, in Washington on a state visit, was also present and spoke to the group following the President's remarks.
The Governor of Michigan has issued the following proclamation in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and the events at the hallowed cemetery this coming weekend:
Proclamation for ‘Michigan Remembers Gettysburg Day’ at Gettysburg National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 23, 2013.
ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF MICHIGAN
I, Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim Saturday, November 23, 2013
MICHIGAN REMEMBERS GETTYSBURG DAY
WHEREAS, during the American Civil War, the state of Michigan sent over 90,000 soldiers, nearly one-quarter of the State’s male population, to serve as members of the Union army; nearly 15,000 of her brave and loyal citizen soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice; and,
WHEREAS, on July 1 – 3, 1863, nearly 5,000 Michigan soldiers defended their nation during the Battle of Gettysburg, sustaining more than 1,130 casualties fighting with the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 16th, & 24th Michigan Infantry; Battery I First Artillery; Company C, I, & K 1st U.S. Sharpshooters; Company B, 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters; the Michigan Cavalry Brigade; and various United States Regular Army units.
WHEREAS, the Federal victory during the Gettysburg Campaign, considered the “High-Water Mark of the Confederacy,” ultimately led to the preservation of the Union and fulfillment of the 13th Amendment in the promise that all persons are created equal and possess certain inalienable rights; and,
WHEREAS, on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln consecrated and dedicated the Gettysburg National Cemetery that serves as a final resting place for over 3,500 Union soldiers, including 173 Michigan men, who died from the epic Battle; and,
WHEREAS, on this day, we join with the Michigan Historical Commission, the Michigan Historical Center and the Michigan Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the Woman's Relief Corps, with assistance from History Remembered, Inc., have planned an honorable and memorable service to honor the Michigan dead at Gettysburg National Cemetery; we encourage citizens of Michigan to honor and remember the sacrifice and outstanding leadership of those Michigan service members and the women who provided soldier aid relief efforts during the American Civil War.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim Saturday, November 23, 2013 as Michigan Remembers Gettysburg Day.
RICK SNYDER, GOVERNOR
On Thursday, Nov. 14, the Michigan House of Representatives adopted the following resolution. Appropriate, poignant, beautifully written, it extols the underlying sacrifice that Lincoln spoke of nearly 150 years ago:
Reps. Darany, Barnett, Brown, Crawford, Denby, Driskell, Durhal, Geiss, Heise, Howrylak, Kelly, Lamonte, LaVoy, O'Brien, Roberts, Slavens and Stanley offered the following resolution:
House Resolution No. 270.
A resolution to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863.
Whereas, It was one hundred and fifty years ago on the afternoon of November 19, 1863, that Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of these United States delivered what has been noted as one of the most eloquent speeches in the annals of American oratory. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery, established in the aftermath of the bloody battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania July 1-3, 1863. Almost five thousand men from the Great Lakes State fought on that hallowed ground and over one thousand Michiganians became combat casualties in the horrific battle; and
Whereas, Thirteen regiments and units from Michigan participated in the great struggle on the charred battlefield of Gettysburg and the blood of Michigan men and boys helped to make that ground sacred. From the 16th Michigan Infantry’s defense of Little Round Top, where the regiment’s colors were shot from the staff and fell “enveloping the fallen with their silken folds like a funeral pall”, to Battery I of the First Michigan Light Artillery Regiment and the 7th Infantry’s defense against Pickett’s charge on Cemetery Ridge where their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Amos Steele of Mason, Michigan died, to the Michigan Cavalry Brigade’s heroic fight on the extreme right of the union line, where their commander Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer of Monroe, Michigan led his men into battle by extorting them to “Come on you wolverines”; and
Whereas, We also recognize and honor the 3rd Michigan Infantry’s defense of the Peach Orchard, the 5th Infantry’s stubborn defiance in the woods near the wheat field, the 4th Infantry’s tenacious hold of the wheat field, where their colonel, Harrison Jeffords of Dexter, Michigan died by bayonet while defending the colors of the regiment, at the loop between the wheat field and the Emmitsburg road the First Michigan fought with valor. We also remember the four companies of Michigan sharpshooters who fought and bravely died with Berdan’s U.S. sharpshooters at the wheat field and Little Round Top; and
Whereas, We must also pay tribute to the tremendous sacrifice paid by the Wayne county boys of the 24th Michigan of the famed Iron Brigade. Of the more than 400 union regiments engaged at Gettysburg, the 24th had the distinction of suffering among the highest casualties, by the end of the battle 80% of the regiment had been killed, wounded, or were listed as missing in action, including 9 men who died carrying the colors of the regiment; and
Whereas, These few, simple, and admittedly meager words shall not resurrect from the cold, shallow, hastily dug, graves of Pennsylvania, the flower of Michigan’s long ago martyred youth. However, by remembering these “honored dead” we can, in some small way, make their sacrifice worth the immeasurable price that was paid. Perhaps by paying homage to the words that President Abraham Lincoln said there we can honor “what they did there” and in the words of the great emancipator, remember those boys in blue, including those from the peninsular state, who “gave the last full measure of devotion”; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives, That the members of this legislative body commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863. We also honor the sacrifice made by the 90,000 Michigan soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War, and the 15,000 Michigan men who lost their lives, including those who were casualties on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We declare “that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.
A report from MICWS Committee Chair Brian James Egen:
This past Sunday afternoon, my wife Jody and I enjoyed the fall colors that southeastern Michigan provided as we drove around Monroe and Lenawee counties. This “ride in the county” was slightly different than previous such excursions. On this day, we brought along a box of plastic lunch bags, a spoon, marker, GPS unit, maps, research books, camera and a list of twelve Michigan Civil War soldiers from these two counties that were killed at the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863 and are subsequently buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. We traveled to each of the soldier’s home town or township and collected spoonfuls of soil for or representing each of them. Careful to obtain original soil (not fill or landscaped dirt), we found locations where the likelihood that the soil was relatively undisturbed, sans active agricultural tilling, since the 1860s. Our travels on this day brought us to Ash, Exeter, Raisinville, Ida, and Dundee townships in Monroe County and the communities of Palmyra, Tecumseh, Rome and Hudson in Lenawee County. In Hudson, we obtained two soil samples along Bean Creek where we happened upon a State Historic Marker describing the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Bridge.
The Gettysburg National Cemetery serves as a final resting place for over 3,500 Union soldiers, including 173 Michigan men, who died from the epic Battle. Volunteers across the Great Lake State have been collecting a handful of soil from the Michigan soldier’s home town or county, as known by the historical record, to be sprinkled on each of their respective graves during a special ceremony on November 23rd 2013. This little piece of their Michigan “home” will symbolically represent their sacrifice in preserving the Union and ensuring freedom to all – a wonderful tribute as part of the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War.
Saturday, November 23rd is this year’s annual Remembrance Day, which takes place in the town of Gettysburg. Among the many ceremonies, parades and activities, our State will participate in this very special tribute and commemoration hosted by the Michigan CW History Partners. The “Michigan Remembers Gettysburg” event will take place in the Michigan section of the Soldier’s National Cemetery on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013, at 4:00 P.M. This year’s event is in observance of the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s dedication of the cemetery and his Gettysburg Address on November 19th 1863.
Bruce Butgereit, Keith Harrison and the Michigan CW History Partners have put much work into this commemoration. In cooperation with the Michigan Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, the Woman's Relief Corps and others, this program will be an honorable and memorable tribute to honor the sacrifice of Michigan citizen soldiers during the Gettysburg Campaign. Marcia Butgereit has done an amazing job in researching and organizing the soil collection element as well as leading the effort to decorate each grave with a small U.S. and Michigan Flag as they have done in past years. In addition to all of these efforts, a commemorative program is being developed will be available to all those who attend, or afterward, for purchase.
The Michigan CW Sesquicentennial Committee is proud to participate in this commemoration and will have representatives present. For more information regarding the Michigan Remembers Gettysburg ceremony, please contact Bruce Butgereit at email@example.com
A guest column today, from a distinguished guest, who wields an able pen and camera, the chairman of the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, Brian James Egen:
With the National Parks now back open to inspire visitors at the many locations where soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice during the American Civil War, they can once more serve as a touchstone to the past and help illustrate the sacrifices made to ensure our freedom today.
As we are in the midst of the 150th Anniversary of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaign of 1863 (described afterward by one Confederate soldier as “…the death-knell of the Confederacy"), we take a moment to share with you recent Sesquicentennial activities by Michiganders in observance of that struggle one hundred and fifty years ago.
With permission from the Chickamauga National Military Park, the Michigan Historical Commission’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee placed a commemorative wreath at the Loomis' Battery (1st Michigan Artillery, Battery A) monument on the Chickamauga Battlefield. The wreath, made of Michigan evergreen boughs and white pine, was placed on Friday, September 20, 2013, in honor of all Michigan soldiers who fought and sacrificed during the Chattanooga and Chickamauga campaigns of 1863.
The 1st Michigan Light Artillery, Battery A (Loomis' Battery), is featured in the new Park Service film at the Chickamauga Visitor Center and was the subject of the ranger-led talks on the battlefield both Saturday and Sunday. Park ranger Chris Young, who portrays the battery’s commander, Lieutenant George Van Pelt, in the film, led the tours. Starting at the Visitors Center and concluding at the Loomis’ Battery Monument, ranger Young recounted and shared the 1st Michigan Artillery story with great passion, inspiration, and conviction making the sacrifice made by those Michigan men during the battle relevant and personally meaningful for all those in attendance. On Saturday alone over fifty people, including many youth, braved the damp cool rain to visit the monument and to hear the Battery’s story.
During this weekend, Matt Switlik of Monroe and others from the state of Michigan exhibited many original artifacts and items from Loomis' Battery at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center. Among the original artifacts on display from Michigan was the Parrott gun #23, one of the six Loomis’ Battery cannon that was engaged and subsequently captured on September 19, 1863, during the Battle of Chickamauga. Also on display were nearly one hundred reproduced images of battery members, many of whom fought at Chickamauga, which allowed guests to see up close those original participants who struggled so mightily to preserve the country they inherited.
The Loomis' Battery monument was dedicated on September 19, 1895, in a ceremony where surviving Battery members spoke that on this day thirty-two years ago Michigan “laid upon the altar of freedom” their comrades in defense of flag and country. This impressive monument has a visually stunning bronze bas relief illustrating the battery in action while the obverse details in stone their story during the battle. The monument stands at the location where Lt. George Van Pelt and five other battery members were killed while defending the guns. After the battery had fired 64 rounds of canister and percussion shell, Confederate infantry rushed upon it in overwhelming numbers, compelling the Federal infantry support to fall back. With nearly 46 horses killed, many cannoneers killed or wounded, the battery was overrun, losing 5 of its 6 ten pounder Parrott guns. Several of the Loomis’ guns were re-captured during the fighting the following day, and all were re-claimed previous to the end of the war.
It was during the American Civil War that the country lost approximately 2.5% of the population – new research puts the number of deaths closer to 750,000. It is so vitally important, especially during the Civil War Sesquicentennial period, to commemorate and to not forget the sacrifice made by our ancestors. As we move into the beauty of Fall and the fast approaching Holiday season, let us take a moment to reflect upon those, past and present, who serve in the defense and protection of our country.