The Holidays are a time to share those things that we are grateful for and in the spirit of this blog, and with the end of the sesquicentennial looming ahead, I want to express my gratitude and thanks to Cheryl Jackson. Cheryl is the executive director of the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission. In my mind no one has worked harder to highlight this important anniversary.
I first met Cheryl back in 2007 during the planning stage of the sesquicentennial. Cheryl would be the first person to admit that she is not an expert on the Civil War, but what was striking early on was her commitment to ensure that the commission’s work both encompass a wide range of activities and that it reach out to all Virginians. The commission’s work over the past few years lived up to and even exceeded these expectations and in its absence came closest to functioning as a national commission.
Early on Cheryl shared a vision that included “signature conferences,” educational resources for the classroom, a traveling exhibit that would reach every Virginia county by 2015, and a program that digitizes family archival collections. Anyone who spends even a little time with Cheryl cannot help but admire her energy and enthusiasm. It’s infectious and no doubt helped (along with funding) to elevate Virginia beyond every other state in promoting the Civil War 150.
I do hope the state of Virginia finds a way to honor Cheryl’s hard work as we approach the end.