Under a crystal clear sky and refreshing breeze, the Sampson Veterans Memorial Ceremony was officially dedicated Saturday. Close to 1,000 veterans and friends attended the ceremony at the cemetery on Route 96A, Romulus. Burials are being scheduled.
Editor’s note: A second article featuring a photo album of the day’s events taken by Joe Siccardi is also being published on Seneca Daily News.
The cemetery took more than a decade to become a reality and met with speed bumps along the way. But the spirit of those who will be interred here was captured by the speakers dedicating the spot as the latest “hallowed ground” in our nation. “How fitting,” said New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio, “that this final resting place is in the shadow of the Birthplace of the first Memorial Day in Waterloo.”
Nozzolio, who was a driving force in the creation of the cemetery, was the featured speaker of the day. Rear Admiral Richard West, USN (Ret), who father, Dana West, will one of the first to be buried at the site, was the keynote speaker. He pointed out family support is critical for servicemen and women and this spot embodies the final support.
Thomas Watt, CDR, US Navy (Ret), served as master of ceremonies, while Brigadier General Gary DiLallo, US Army (Ret) gave the invocation and benediction.
Also speaking were Chick Lafler, chairman of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors; Tom Kime, chair of the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency which will oversee operation of the cemetery through its Economic Development Corporation arm; New York State Assemblyman Gary Finch, Jim Hoffman, chair of the Wayne County Board of Supervsiros; and New State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb. U.S. Congressman Richard Hanna was scheduled to speak but was detained in Washington, DC.
The Geneva Army National Guard Alpha Troop 2, 101 Calvary presented, posted and retired the colors. Bill Andre, a Sampson World War II Navy veteran, and Richad “Dick” Schweitzer, Sampson Air Force Base veteran, led in recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance. Leigh Consolie of Geneva sang the National Anthem.
Other special events during the ceremony included presentation of the plaque that will rest in front of the VFW flagpole and Memorial Walk, music by Andy Stobie and the Seneca falls Community Band, Doug Avery singing Proud To Be an American, Consolie and Avery leading God Bless America, a Salute to Deceased Comrades by the Waterloo American Legion, Taps by Stobie and Jack Jarosinki performing a special bagpipe salute to veterans and Amazing Grace at the close of the ceremony.
Additional information will be in the Reveille/Between the Lakes.