Letter From the Editor

Alfred J. Luther of the 1st Kansas Infantry is buried at Vicksburg National Cemetery in Mississippi; Section K, Grave No. 5971. Albert Cashier of the 95th Illinois Infantry is also among the 17,000 buried. 

The National Cemetery there is often not as quiet as you may suspect. The stillness is punctuated by sounds of industry, which is fitting as the city of Vicksburg was laid siege to for control of the Mississippi River and the railroad during the Civil War.

You can look up the names of the Confederates that surrendered after the siege. I keep meaning to find out of if several of the men with the last name “Giddens” are my ancestors. Though I wonder if those Giddens added to the number buried there. 

This Veterans Day, I’ve been dwelling on the winter I spent in Vicksburg. Alfred and Albert were both born female, Alfred’s birth name forever lost and Albert born Jenny Hodgers. I wonder if those two would serve today and what they would identify as and which restroom we would make them use. 

The midterms in the rearview (and evidently fear of migrant caravans) and baseless allegations of voter fraud once more have come up. 

This isn’t surprising, considering we have a president who proudly states he only accepts elections he wins? I can only think of Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum address in 1838. 

“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.” 

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