About 3-4 miles south of Maxwell, NE (pop. 312) on State Hwy 56A lies Fort McPherson National Cemetery. Established in 1863, the fort was originally built to protect travelers along the Oregon Trail. As western settlement progressed, the need for soldiers decreased and the fort took on a new role as a national cemetery.
The nation’s original national cemeteries were established on or near Civil War battlefields, but as veterans aged and dispersed, these first cemeteries became inaccessible to eligible honorably discharged Union Army veterans who desired a national cemetery as their final resting place. Fort McPherson was established as a national cemetery in 1873.
As Army closed its frontier posts, the soldiers buried in the post cemeteries were moved to Fort McPherson. Today, there are over 10,000 buried at Fort McPherson: some from the Indian Wars and some from more recent wars; most are known, but some are unknown due to weathered wood markers used in frontier cemeteries. They are all veterans who served their country and all are known to God. I salute them all on this Memorial Day.
Thought for the Day: It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. General George S. Patton