On Saturday, July 30, I had the distinct honor - and genuine personal privilege - of addressing an overflow crowd of citizens who had gathered on a beautiful summer day to help dedicate the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Seneca County. We gathered to take part in a historic ceremony and show appreciation for our state's veterans and their families.
The cemetery, which is a remarkable sight, will serve as the final resting place for veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice to our nation and proudly answered the call to serve. They did so with remarkable courage, valor and selflessness, without regard for the dangers, challenges and hardships they continually faced. With more than 200,000 veterans residing throughout our Finger Lakes community, the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery is another way we can express our eternal thanks to those who gave everything serving in freedom's cause.
SAMPSON VETERANS MEMORIAL CEMETERY STEEPED IN NEW YORK STATE'S PROUD MILITARY HISTORY
According to its official website - www.sampsonveteranscemetery.com - the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery is located at a site steeped in New York State's rich and distinguished military history. The location had functioned as a naval training station during World War II and, in so doing, helped prepare hundreds of thousands of sailors. The sailors who were trained at Sampson fought and participated in every major naval battle of World War II. Afterwards, the base was utilized as an Air Force Basic Training Center.
The Sampson World War II Navy Veterans Museum is also located at the site and, right nearby, is the former Seneca Army Depot, which had previously served as an ammunition and storage supply facility during World War II, as well as the Vietnam War, Korean Conflict and Gulf War.
PROUD TO BE PART OF COMMUNITY-BASED EFFORT TO HELP ESTABLISH THE CEMETERY
The effort to establish the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery was the result of a long-term community-based approach, as I collaborated with local veterans' organizations and my colleague, State Senator Michael Nozzolio, to help secure state support for the cemetery.
Together, last year we sponsored non-partisan legislation that was signed into law designating a portion of State Route 96A - from State Route 5 and U.S. Route 20 in Waterloo, Seneca County to Ovid, Seneca County - as the "Sampson Veterans Memorial Highway."
In addition to the Navy and Air Force veterans that trained at the location, the cemetery has been actively supported by a number of state and local veterans' organizations, including the New York State Veterans of Foreign Wars; the American Legion, Korean Vets; the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations, along with the Sampson WW-2 Navy Veterans. All Seneca County residents can, and should, take great pride in our community's historic role in preparing our best and brightest to serve.
IF YOU LOVE FREEDOM, THANK A VETERAN!
Time and again, New York State has led the way in the fight for freedom - a fight that has come with considerable costs. During the Civil War, New York contributed more men and material, and suffered more casualties, than any other Union State. New York State service men and women paid a high price in both World Wars, as well as the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, serving with distinction just as they continue doing today in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, native New Yorkers have been awarded 467 Congressional Medals of Honor, many posthumously.
SAMPSON VETERANS MEMORIAL CEMETERY: FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR NEW YORK'S HEROES LOCATED NEAR THE BIRTHPLACE OF MEMORIAL DAY
In my remarks for the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery dedication ceremony, I said locating the final resting place of New York's true heroes in the same County as the recognized birthplace of Memorial Day was an appropriate honor for Seneca County's best and brightest who wore the uniform. I will forever be grateful for having had the opportunity to be part of the effort that led to establishment of this memorial cemetery. If you love freedom, thank a veteran - and please take a moment to visit the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery and pay respect to New York's true heroes. It will be time well spent.
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.