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$4M coming to Sampson for state’s first veterans cemetery

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

State officials celebrated the near $4 million federal award destined for the enhancements and enlargement of the New York State Veterans Cemetery – Finger Lakes.

This is the first veterans cemetery to be owned and supervised by the state of New York. Announced in February 2023, this cemetery denotes a crucial advancement in providing honorable burial options for the state’s veterans and their descendants. Governor Hochul stressed the importance of maintaining a reverent resting place to honor veterans, expressing gratitude for the collaboration and support that have made this project possible.

The cemetery, administrated by the New York State Department of Veterans’ Services, sprawls across 162 acres beside Seneca Lake in Romulus, Seneca County, and neighbors Sampson State Park. This location holds historical significance as it served as a training station for numerous service members during World War II and the Korean War. The cemetery, located near Waterloo—acknowledged as the birthplace of Memorial Day—has 147 acres allocated for developmental endeavors to ensure it remains a respected sanctuary for New York’s heroes. Officials have commended the award, noting its role in recognizing the service and sacrifices of veterans and affirming it will aid in maintaining this sacred ground to the highest standards.

The National Cemetery Administration’s funding, totaling $3.951 million, represents a 40 percent increase from the initial grant and will facilitate several improvements, including the addition of a columbarium and maintenance facilities. Before the establishment of the Finger Lakes cemetery, New York was one of the few states without a federally recognized state-owned veterans’ cemetery. This substantial financial injection underscores the ongoing commitment to honor the nation’s heroes and ensures the continual memorialization of veterans in a state that is home to over 688,000 veterans.