Virtual cemetery honors Veterans
BY BECCY TANNER The Wichita Eagle
On the Internet, John Jackson pays them a tribute. All told, he has snapped more than 13,000 photos of Civil War veteran tombstones in Kansas and Missouri and posted more than a thousand biographies and obituaries. He's creating the Kansas Virtual Civil War Veteran Cemetery.
Retired from the U.S. Army after 21 years, Jackson says he does this to keep the veterans' legacy alive. He is hoping that as Kansans pay honor to veterans of current wars today, they won't forget the ones that earned Kansas the national nickname of "soldier state" -- Civil War veterans.
"I think that no veteran of a war should ever be forgotten no matter how long ago that war was," said Jackson, of Chanute.
Some estimates by the mid-1880s indicated more than 100,000 Union Civil War veterans claimed Kansas as their home state. The numbers for the Confederate veterans are less certain.
Jackson is on a deadline and says that finding forgotten veterans is his mission.
The year 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of both the beginning of the Civil War and the adoption of Kansas to the Union. His hope is to give every Civil War veteran in Kansas recognition and to help groups like the Sons of Union Veterans and the Sons of Confederate Veterans identify, repair and in some cases obtain government-issue tombstones.