Visclosky among speakers at Crown Point Memorial Day event
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent May 29, 2012 12:08PM
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky speaks about remembering the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers during a Civil War headstone dedication and launch of the Civil War Memorial Trail on Monday, May 28, 2012, at Maplewood Cemetery, in Crown Point. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2012 1:29PM
CROWN POINT — Lake County’s Civil War veterans were remembered Monday in a ceremony dedicating the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail.
The dedication, sponsored by the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Authority and the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, followed the annual Memorial Day parade and memorial service at Maplewood Cemetery.
As part of the celebration 10 local Civil War soldiers buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Crown Point, the launch site for the trail, had their headstones replaced and their personal stories told as part of a tour of the memorials that dot the site. Last year 12 headstones were replaced as part of the project.
Speros Batistatos, executive director of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, co-sponsor of the trail’s dedication with the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project, said only Delaware topped Indiana in the number of soldiers who served in the Civil War.
“We don’t have the battlefields they have in other states but we feel the stories,” Batistatos said. The history of the area and the stories to be told about the local residents who fought in the Civil War is part of what the SSCVA expects to draw visitors to the trail.
While visiting the sites on the trail people will be able to use their smart phones to snap a quick response (QR) code that will tell the significant stories of those buried at the cemeteries along the trail allowing them to hear the history of the era on a self-guided tour.
“(Maplewood) is the flagship cemetery where the greatest stories will be told,” he said.
The most significant of those stories is that of Colonel John Wheeler and the men he lead off to battle. Mike Miller, who portrays Wheeler as part of the 20th Indiana Company B Volunteer Infantry re-enactors, said a lot of people do not realize that in 1861 more than 100 Lake County men, all volunteers, gathered on the north side of the Crown Point Courthouse Square to follow Wheeler and march on to Lafayette to get orders as part of the Union Army.
“We’re doing this to keep the memory and history of 20th Indiana Company B alive,”
As the men marched away they were surrounded by crowds with little girls handing them flowers, ladies from the churches passing out testaments and the little boys giving out biscuits. It was a momentous and joyous occasion that for many would wind up in sorrow for the families of those who did not return.
“Out of the 101 men Col Wheeler assembled, 48 of those Lake county men never came back,” Miller said.
The significance of that loss should not be forgotten.
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, also was on hand to help launch the trail, one of several of his stops this Memorial Day holiday.
Visclosky said people can hear any number of speeches Monday on the significance of remembering those who have lost their lives in duty to their country.
While there is much to be said, the most important thing is the presence of those who have come out and taken the time to remember.
“The greatest eloquence is the silent respect (from the audience),” Visclosky said.