I was elected Commander of the Department of Missouri, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, for the 2016-2017 administrative year and re-elected for the 2017-2018 administrative year. As part of my responsibilities, I wrote a letter to the Department every quarter which was published in the Department’s newsletter, The Missouri Unionist. Below is the eighth such letter.

26 Mar 2018

Brothers of the Department of Missouri,

In seeking inspiration for my final quarterly letter to the Department, I quickly returned to the archives of the Missouri Unionist to reread my parting letter from this time last year. I never imagined at the time of its writing I would have the opportunity to carry out the duties of this office for two consecutive years. I am humbled and grateful for the faith you placed in me.

I have enjoyed nothing but the fullest support from my fellow officers and the individual camps of this Department, sought and received advice from many of our Past Department Commanders and Past Commanders-in-Chief, and have benefited immensely from the counsel and encouragement of our Commander-in-Chief and National Secretary. It should be smooth sailing for the next Commander of the Department of Missouri if he enjoys the same level of support from our brothers.

I read a post on social media recently of a husband who with his wife goes to estate sales to find valuable items to flip for a profit. He stated that he always informs the family when they possess something of possible sentimental value they may want to keep. Sadly, he says most of the time the family doesn’t care about grandpa’s medals, grandma’s recipe book, or even love letters of the long departed. We frequently see unlabeled portraits staring back from the walls of antique malls, stacks of photographs lacking names, dates, and places, and wonder if there is someone out there who cares. It seems the answer is often “no,” or at least “not yet.”

It is precisely because of this environment that organizations such as ours exist. We are here to perpetuate shared memories of historical significance while others cannot be bothered. Similarly, what need would there be for family historians and genealogists if every generation embraced and meticulously updated their family history so we would know where we came from without having to hope our ancestors left us clues which have withstood the countless years of indifference and neglect? We would not be able to learn so much without those rare individuals here and there who did care and took the time to preserve and share. Take heart, for we are educating those here today while we preserve history for those here tomorrow. The appreciation for this work, when not felt at the immediate hour, will be expressed for generations to come.

God bless this Union, our ancestors who fought for it, and you my brothers, who are preserving its history even in the midst of occasional indifference.

In Fraternity, Charity, & Loyalty,

Randal A. Burd, Jr., PDC

Commander, Department of Missouri
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

If you would like to honor your Union ancestor(s) by joining The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (or any of our Allied Orders), I will help document your lineage and an ancestor’s service free of charge and guide you through the simple process of joining the nearest camp / tent in your area. E-mail me at raburdjr at gmail dot com.