Nixon establishes Civil War Commission

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday signed an executive order establishing a new Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. Pictured at the signing ceremony at Jefferson Barracks, from left, are: County Executive Charlie Dooley, Nixon and state Rep. Vicki Englund, D-Concord. Bill Milligan photo

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday signed an executive order establishing a new Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. Pictured at the signing ceremony at Jefferson Barracks, from left, are: County Executive Charlie Dooley, Nixon and state Rep. Vicki Englund, D-Concord. Bill Milligan photo

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday signed an executive order establishing a new Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

The group’s purpose is to “increase awareness and understanding of Missouri’s role in the Civil War; to encourage civic, historical, educational, economic and other entities throughout Missouri to organize and participate in activities to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War; and to foster an inclusive spirit of reconciliation that appropriately recognizes the experiences and points of view of all people affected by the Civil War and its aftermath,” according to the executive order.

“The commission will recommend to the governor and the citizens of Missouri effective means and activities by which to ob-serve the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in Missouri,” the order states. “The commission will promote public awareness of the historical significance of Missouri in the Civil War, as well as cultural tourism in and around the state of Missouri in relation to the Civil War and its legacies.”

During a signing ceremony at Jefferson Barracks, Nixon said it was important for Missourians today to have a better understanding not only of the battles that took place in the state, but also of how the Civil War affected — and continues to affect —the culture, economy and demographics of Missouri.

“The Civil War and its legacies still hold a place of keen interest in the minds of many Missourians, as well as people from across the country and around the world,” Nixon stated in a news release. “Missouri offers much for them to see and experience, and the Sesquicentennial Commission will have an important role in spreading that word.”

More than 1,100 engagements were fought in Missouri from 1861 to 1865, the release states. Several of those battlefields are preserved, including those at the Battle of Lexington, Fort Davidson, the Battle of Carthage, and the Battle of Athens state historic sites.

The governor has appointed 10 Missourians to serve on the Sesquicentennial Commission:

• Robert Archibald of St. Louis, president and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society.

• J. Kent Emison of Higginsville, who serves on the parks board of that city, which is home to the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site and which is near the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site.

• Debra Foster Greene of Jefferson City, a history professor at Lincoln University.

• Ted Hillmer Jr. of Republic, superintendent of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

• Joseph Houts of St. Joseph, an author of Civil War books.

• Kimberly Norwood of Creve Coeur, professor of law and African American studies at Washington University.

• Terry Ramsey of Nevada, Bushwhacker Museum coordinator.

• Jim Robertson of Columbia, the Columbia Daily Tribune managing editor.

• Arthur Schuermann of Sunset Hills, Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Station base military historian.

• Stuart Symington Jr. of St. Louis, former Association of the U.S. Army trustee.

Besides those appointed members, the commission will include the governor or his designee; the secretary of state or her designee; the directors or their designees of the Department of Natural Resources, the Division of Tourism, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Transportation and the Missouri National Guard; and the director or his designee of the State Historical So-ciety of Missouri, according to the release.