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Michigan prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War

(Bill Messerroll 2009)
The annual Civil War muster draws thousands of people to Jackson's Cascades Park every year

There are numerous observances planned across Michigan beginning this week marking the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  More than 90 thousand Michiganders served in Union army during the Civil War.  Nearly 15 thousand died.

The Michigan State University Museum is unveiling a special exhibit this week to mark the war’s sesquicentennial. Val Berryman is the museum’s curator of history.  He says many people, especially young people, seem to know little about the conflict.

"I’ve run across students who don’t know the difference between World War 2 and the Civil War.”

He says one poignant part of the exhibit shows how MSU’s entire first graduating class left school early in 1861 to fight in the war.  

“That showed a real dedication to the preservation of the union, and fighting for the union cause.”

Saturday, the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing will kick off its Sesquicentennial observances with a civil war reenactment. It’s just one of dozens of events are scheduled across the state commemorating the 150th anniversary of the war.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.