CROWN POINT | A new sound system honoring veterans is arriving just in time to celebrate the life of a Crown Point colonel who fell in battle 150 years ago.
Valparaiso philanthropist and region businessman William Wellman and his son Scott installed one of the audio systems Friday at Crown Point's Historic Maplewood Cemetery.
The cemetery is the first of 10 Lake County sites, including several cemeteries listed on the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail, to receive an audio system through Wellman's coordination and grants from the Merrillville-based Legacy Foundation.
The system, which synchronizes all sites via satellite, plays the traditional military bugle call, taps, each night at dusk in honor of region veterans past and present. It also can be programmed to play other songs for special ceremonies and funerals.
Wellman is working with organizers of the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail — a group that has preserved more than 80 grave sites and hundreds of stories of region Civil War veterans — to ensure at least four cemeteries listed on the trail will receive the audio systems.
Among nearly 90 Civil War veterans buried at Crown Point's Maplewood Cemetery is Col. John Wheeler, who commanded the 20th Indiana Infantry during the nation's bloodiest war.
The sound system arrives in time to play taps at a special public ceremony planned for Wheeler at 11 a.m. Tuesday, the 150th anniversary of the colonel's death at the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Civil War trail is placing and dedicating a special marker for Wheeler's grave, commemorating his death on July 2, 1863, during the bloodiest battle of the war.
The Wellman and Legacy Foundation efforts already have installed such sound systems in Valparaiso. Other local sites set to receive the systems include the Edward P. Robinson Community Veterans Memorial in Munster, Merrillville Cemetery, Oak Hill Cemetery in Hammond and Salem Cemetery in Hebron.