State veterans cemetery to be created in Romulus
Graveyard will be located at site of former Sampson Naval Training Station.
Friday, November 11, 2005
By David L. Shaw Staff writer
In the works for seven years, the first state-sponsored veterans cemetery will be located on a 100-acre parcel of the former Sampson Naval Training Station in Romulus, Seneca County.
Making the announcement was state Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio, R-Fayette, joined by a host of veterans and local officials.
Nozzolio said he has obtained more than $500,000 in state money to create the veterans cemetery. The former federal property was acquired by the state in 1960 and now serves as the 1,852-acre Sampson State Park.
He plans to introduce a bill in January that will transfer some 450 acres of surplus state property south of the park on the east shore of Seneca Lake to Seneca County.
Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb, R-Canandaigua, will sponsor the bill in the Assembly.
The 100 acres will be set aside for a veterans cemetery that will be open to all military veterans and their families through the state and country.
The remaining 350 acres will be available for economic development by the county, with plans to get that land back on the tax rolls.
"America's veterans are our true heroes and this cemetery will be a lasting tribute and place of honor where they will be appropriately remembered," Nozzolio said.
The site served as Sampson Naval Training Station from 1942 to 1946. After World War II, it was used as Sampson College for veterans from 1946 to 1949. When the Korean War broke out, it was used as Sampson Air Force Base from 1950 to 1955.
It was the second-largest naval training station in the country during World War II.
In addition to the Navy and Air Force history at Sampson, Nozzolio said nearby Waterloo is the nationally recognized birthplace of Memorial Day.
Nozzolio said the state will work with the town of Romulus and the state Department of Correctional Services to coordinate administrative services, general maintenance and grounds-keeping for the proposed cemetery.
All honorably discharged veterans, their spouses and dependent children will be eligible for burial in the proposed cemetery. The guidelines for the cemetery will be based on federal veterans cemetery standards.
"Establishing a veterans cemetery in our region is something we Sampson veterans have been advocating for many, many years," said Stephen W. Bull, president of the 50,000-member Sampson World War II Navy Veterans.