Thunderbird Cadets and Memorial Day
Every year Thunderbird Youth Academy cadets place flags on every grave at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery for Memorial Day. This year was no exception with Thunderbird cadets placing hundreds of flags. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May, it commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.
Fort Gibson National Cemetery is located in Muskogee County, one mile northeast of Fort Gibson, Okla. It is situated on land that was once part of the military reservation and is within the limits of the Cherokee Nation. Records indicate the area was probably called Ketona prior to 1824.
Due to the great tolls exacted by yellow fever, three successive post cemeteries were established at Fort Gibson. Original interments in what is now the national cemetery were mostly the remains of soldiers removed from the abandoned post cemeteries. Other interments are the Union troops who died on the battlefields of the Southwest. In 1868, a plot of seven acres east of Fort Gibson was officially converted into a national cemetery. The soldiers stationed at the fort had previously used the ground for burials, and a few civilians had been interred there prior to 1850. Within the confines of Fort Gibson National Cemetery, there is interred, at least one veteran of every war in which the United States has fought. Graves of known and unknown soldiers lay adjacent to the graves of Native Americans, scouts, civilians, wives and children.
Among the notable burials at Fort Gibson is Talahina Rogers Houston, the second wife of General Sam Houston. Talahina, a Cherokee, married Houston in 1829 after he divorced his first wife. Houston bought a large farm on the Neosho River about two miles northeast of Fort Gibson. Houston, however, soon grew restless and went off to conquer new frontiers, this time in the Southwest where he became president of the Republic of Texas. Talahina died of pneumonia in 1833.