Milwaukee Archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hying will concelebrate an outdoor Mass and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) will be the keynote speaker at a Civil War Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28, at Calvary Cemetery, 5503 W. Bluemound Road, Milwaukee.
The ceremony, sponsored by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and its Auxiliary, draws a crowd of several hundred each year.
The First Brigade Band will play songs and hymns from the Civil War era on original musical instruments that were used during the war.
Immediately after the Mass, the patriotic ceremony will be held and will include the firing of a Civil War cannon by Cushing’s Battery A as well as rifle and musket salutes, the playing of Taps and the decoration of veterans’ graves. Sen. Johnson and Bishop Hoying each will fire the cannon. Lt. Alonzo Cushing, who was born in Delafield, was a Union Army artilleryman killed at Gettysburg. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) recently reopened the drive to award Cushing the Medal of Honor for continuing to command the vital battery during the Confederate Pickett’s Charge, despite being wounded several times.
At this time 150 years ago, the Civil War was in its second year, with the bloody battle of Shiloh, Tenn., having taken place in April 1862, plus dozens of other clashes large and small. More than 90,000 soldiers from Wisconsin, about 20 percent of the state’s male population, served in over 52 Union regiments and other units. Of those, 10,868 Wisconsin soldiers lost their lives. Four of Johnson’s predecessors as U.S. senator were officers in Wisconsin infantry regiments in the war – John Spooner, William Vilas, John Mitchell and Joseph Quarles.
In case of bad weather, the Mass and patriotic ceremony will be held inside St. Vincent Pallotti church (east) at 5502 W. Bluemound Road.