It’s official. Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery is New York’s first-ever State Veterans Cemetery.
The cemetery is made possible with the transfer of ownership of the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery from Seneca County to the State and $2.8 million available from the National Cemetery Administration.
The cemetery will ensure the State can provide dignified burial options for New York’s veterans and their families. The State Division of Veterans’ Services will oversee the cemetery, which has been renamed the New York State Veterans Cemetery – Finger Lakes, in accordance with national standards for state veterans cemeteries.
“Our veterans have sacrificed more than many could ever imagine, and New York is proud to establish its first State Veterans Cemetery to honor their legacies and ensure they can rest in peace,” Governor Hochul said. “There is no better place for this first of its kind cemetery than a location steeped in military history. We will never take our veterans for granted and we will ensure that they are taken care of in life and in death as we thank them for their selfless service.”
The New York State Veterans Cemetery – Finger Lakes occupies 162 acres along Seneca Lake in Romulus, Seneca County and is adjacent to Sampson State Park. The site has 147 acres of land available for development and construction projects to ensure it serves as an honored resting place for New York State’s heroes for generations to come.
The cemetery is located at the site of the former Sampson Naval Training Station and Sampson Air Force Base, where hundreds of thousands of service members trained during World War II and the Korean War. The site later functioned as a temporary college and a separation center for service members being discharged and officially closed in 2000. The cemetery is located near Waterloo, the community recognized as the birthplace of Memorial Day.
“Seneca County is honored to have had the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery selected to be New York State’s first Veterans Cemetery. We have been faithful stewards of this hallowed ground and look forward to a smooth transition and to an even brighter future for this historic place,” said Seneca County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Enslow.
The site was chosen in 2021 as the location of New York’s first State Veterans Cemetery by a committee appointed for that purpose. The Division of Veterans’ Services worked with stakeholders to secure the availability of $2.8 million in federal funds, which was key to facilitating the transfer. The federal funding will allow for upgrades, including columbarium niches, pre-placed crypts, landscaping, irrigation, grading and drainage, as well as maintenance building and maintenance yard, and other supporting infrastructure.
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