Last Civil War Veteran Buried in Beltrami Co. Honored at Ceremony in Bemidji
Since April of this year, 19 Minnesota Civil War veterans have been honored for their service, and this past weekend, one more soldier in Beltrami County joined that group.
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is a non-profit group that has worked to research and honor the last Civil War veteran to be buried in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties. One recent dedication was held for a soldier that was buried in Crow Wing County. During a ceremony held on Saturday, August 5 in Bemidji, the organization honored Robert McKnight as Beltrami County’s final Civil War veteran to pass away.
Attendees learned about McKnight’s service for the United States and his life after being discharged. But for some, the songs and salutes on Saturday honored more than just the work of this single veteran.
“As a veteran myself, it’s just an incredible honor to be part of this program. And it’s all volunteer work,” said Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Sergeant Jim Johnson, one of the people who research Civil War veterans during the winter and honor them during the spring and summer. “We ask for donations at times, and that’s to buy them the brass markers that we put in the counties, everything else we do is on our own.”
The next ceremony the SUVCW will hold is on August 12 at 11 a.m. in Duluth. This ceremony will also honor the very last Civil War veteran from Minnesota, who died at age 106.