CORFU, NY -- Today, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer teamed up with local veteran leaders to launch a campaign to name the new Western New York Veterans' Cemetery.
Schumer is pushing to name the site after a local decorated war hero, "Wild Bill" Donovan. Donovan was born to immigrant parents in Buffalo, NY in 1883. He served as a Lt. Colonel in World War I and eventually went on to found and lead the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA, during World War II. Donovan remains the only American to earn all four of the highest military awards in the U.S.
Schumer said that naming the first and only Veterans' Cemetery in the Buffalo-Rochester area after a local hero will make the site even more special.
"'Wild Bill' Donovan is a true Western New York hero, and I cannot think of any better way to commemorate his life, and honor our region's veterans, than by naming the new Western New York Veterans' Cemetery after 'Wild Bill,'" Schumer said in a released statement.
Schumer also announced his push to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase an adjacent 60-acre property, which would give the cemetery the space it needs to grow and expand. Having a cemetery in Pembroke will save thousands of military families from having to travel upward of 100 miles to visit their loved ones at what is now the closest Veterans' Cemetery in Bath, NY.
"Western New York's veterans, and their families, deserve to have a national cemetery that is close to home, bucolic, and imbued with significance," Schumer said. "This beautiful site, named after 'Wild Bill' Donovan, and less than an hour away from both Buffalo and Rochester, would be just that. I am urging the VA to make this a reality as quickly as possible."
Veterans with a qualifying discharge, their spouses and eligible dependent children may be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents. Burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker.