Topeka Middle school students across Kansas are being encouraged to learn more about their history and communities by searching local cemeteries for the graves of Civil War veterans.
The two-year program, which started last week, is called “Sleeping Heroes: The Impact of Civil War Veterans on Kansas Communities.”
“This isn’t unique, but it is personal to me,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said during a kickoff of the event at Memorial Hall in Topeka. “This is a terrific project.”
Schmidt is a descendant of Peter Schmidt, who served in the Civil War and then settled in the Independence area. Kansas was known at the time as the Soldier State because so many veterans homesteaded in the state, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Don Lambert, a humanities consultant who was instrumental in starting “Sleeping Heroes,” said the project was sparked by students in Glasco. During a 2006 school project, they found 83 Civil war veterans buried in the cemetery of the north-central town of 500 residents. Their research became a book and was designated by the History Channel as one of the 10 best projects of the year, Glasco teacher Brenda Berndt said.