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The Globe GazetteĀ 
May 27 2002

Sons of Union Veterans honor Civil War dead

MASON CITY - The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War rededicated the headstones of eight soldiers and honored the 125 Cerro Gordo County Civil War veterans Sunday night.

"Let us celebrate the strength and bravery it took to obtain and maintain freedom," said Union Pastor Carl Fulk, "so we not forget the price of freedom."

The Memorial Day-eve service at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery was attended by 50 people, many dressed in 1860s attire.

"The Civil War touched almost every home in Mason City and Cerro Gordo County," said Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel after presenting a Memorial Day proclamation.

He told a story of Datus Coon's request to the Iowa governor to organize volunteers in 1861. On July 20 of that year, six men lined Main Street in Mason City, prepared to go to battle.

The number grew to 125 men from Cerro Gordo County - 24 who were eventually killed. Schickel said Cerro Gordo County's population at the time was 900.

The headstones of Leonard Warner, Lawrence Lawless, James Kenyon, Henry Rath, Theodore Weed, Seth Stevens, Thomas Buchanan and Marvin Moon were decorated in a ceremony adapted from one in 1880.

Larry Roach, commander of the Charles H. Huntley Camp 114 of the Sons of Union Veterans, explained that the group was not a re-enactment organization. He said the unit is designed to pay tribute to the Civil War Soldier, the soldiers who have preserved freedom and the men who today stand in harms way protecting the country.

He said Iowa soldiers helped patrol the Mississippi River in guarding it for the Union.

Roach said 78,095 Iowans participated in the Civil War. He said 204 Civil War veterans are buried in the Mason City Cemetery. A total of 600,000 people died in the Civil War, which is still the country's largest death toll from any war.

A Civil War veteran walk took people attending the ceremony to the graves of several Civil War veterans.

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