Bill Crowder played a bugle Thursday as history, military and political leaders gathered in Gov. Mark Dayton’s office to urge Minnesotans to commemorate 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War by ringing bells on April 9.
“Bells have long been ringing in our country for many reasons,” state Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, said. “They commemorate births, deaths, sadness, alarm and warning. They sounded in April of 1865, at least in the North, when the war ended. They joyously proclaimed the end of this horrible conflict and may they ring again, may they peel again, on April 9 to commemorate what happened 150 years ago.”
Minnesota will note its contributions to the Civil War, joining icons such as the Liberty Bell, in the nationwide event.
Crowder, a Mounds View Civil War re-enactor, played his bugle when Dayton and other dignitaries entered the room, then accepted a governor proclamation commemorating the April 9 event.
Those at a gathering of said Minnesota has a special reason to note the war’s end since the state was the first to send volunteers to help the North and they were involved in major battles.
Minnesota Adjutant General Richard Nash, who leads the National Guard, said the state sent 22,000 soldiers to the war “from a developing state.”
Since Minnesota became a state in 1858, three years before the Civil War started, many volunteers had not had a chance to become American citizens, Dayton said, and some could not speak English.
“I have always been proud that Minnesota was the first state to defend the union in the Civil War,” said Sen. Roger Reinert, D-Duluth, himself a Navy Reserve officer.
Throughout the war, Minnesota soldiers were in major battles, including Gettysburg and Appomattox.
“Almost 2,500 Minnesotans … gave their lives to preserve their nation,” the governor said.
It is tough for today’s Americans to understand the Civil War, Reinert said. “As deep as sometimes we think our divides are, I cannot imagine anything as deep as that.”
“Bells Across the Land” organizers ask that bells in churches, temples, schools, public building history sites and elsewhere ring at 2:15 p.m. April 9. They are to toll four minutes.