Vet’s National Cemetery in Pembroke Dedicated
Written by Dan Fischer on November 30, 2020
It has taken almost a decade but the National Cemetery in Pembroke was dedicated today and ready to provide a final resting place for Western New York veterans.
The dedication was held this morning at the site of the cemetery on Indian Falls Road in Pembroke.
Schumer was joined by Veteran’s Administration officials and Western New York veterans. The establishment of the nation’s newest Veterans’ Cemetery had been long-sought to honor the more than 77,000 veterans and family members in this region who will now have a proper military burial at a site close to their homes.
This Veterans’ Cemetery will be the first and only of its kind in the Buffalo-Rochester area and will save military families from having to travel more than 100 miles in some cases to what was previously the closest Veterans’ Cemetery in Bath, NY.
From Schumer News Release:
“Today at long last, veterans across Western New York will have a fitting resting place and eternal place of honor right here in the very community they dedicated their lives to defend and serve. Dedicating this hallowed ground today answers the call of veterans who organized over a decade ago for a local National Cemetery. I was proud to take up their call and work alongside them to now realize this day. Now a grieving family will not be left to travel over 200 miles from their home to bury or visit their loved ones. Now the veterans of Western New York who have done so much for us and our nation will have a proper burial, at a National Cemetery close to their home, family and thankful community. The Western New York National Cemetery is a testament to the thousands of veterans across this region, who through their service and sacrifice in defense of our nation, have earned a place in our nation’s newest national shrine. “
Schumer has long fought to make the Western New York National Veterans Cemetery a reality. Beginning in the 2000s and culminating in 2009 Schumer, together with various veterans groups, led the charge to bring a much-needed veterans’ cemetery to Western New York arguing that a lack of a national veterans’ cemetery within a 75-mile radius of Buffalo and Rochester meant that it was long past time for the underserved veterans and family members living in Western New York to have a fitting burial option closer to home. A group of veterans started the process to get a cemetery dedicated for veterans in Western New York in the mid-2000s. The group, organized by Erie County Veteran and Advocate Dr. Patrick Welch gathered over 10,000 signatures that he and other veterans provided to Senator Schumer that called for the establishment of a veteran’s cemetery in Western New York. For several years, Schumer worked hard alongside the veteran’s community of Western New York to push the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration to establish a National Veterans Cemetery in WNY. In 2010, the VA responded and announced it would establish a new veteran’s cemetery in Western New York as there where at least 80,000 veterans that resided at least 75-miles from the National Veterans Cemetery in Bath, NY which is the closest existing cemetery but still more than 100 miles away from Western New York.
In 2019 Schumer secured an additional $10 million that they VA said it would require to complete the cemetery’s Phase 1 construction. In January of 2018, Schumer called on the VA to complete the final acquisitions of two land parcels of 60-acres and 77-acres respectively in Pembroke, New York, needed to create the cemetery and one month later announced the VA had done so. In 2016, Schumer announced that following his push $36 million in federal funding for the construction phase of the cemetery in Western New York had been secured and included in the final continuing resolution (CR) package.