Waterloo – State Senator Michael Nozzolio joined state and county officials today for the official transfer of a parcel of land in Sampson State Park from the State of New York to Seneca County. The 162-acre plot of land in the Park will be the site of the new Sampson Veterans Cemetery.
The transfer of land to Seneca County was the last remaining hurdle to be cleared before the site can be readied for use as the Sampson Veterans Cemetery. The creation of the veterans cemetery at Sampson State Park has been a priority of Senator Nozzolio and area veterans for many years.
“This is the critical last step to creating a first-class cemetery for our veterans right here in Seneca County,” said Senator Nozzolio. “This day has been many years in the making and I want to thank all of the veterans who worked with me to ensure that the Sampson Veterans Cemetery would become a reality. This cemetery will be a lasting tribute to the brave veterans who gave so much for our country.”
Due to intricate state laws concerning the transfer of state lands, Senator Nozzolio was required to sponsor legislation that was enacted into State law and consult with attorneys from the State Office of General Services before the land transfer could proceed. The legislation sponsored by Senator Nozzolio authorizing the land transfer was enacted into law last July.
The Seneca County Board of Supervisors has approved the transfer of the state land to the county and, with the transfer of the deed, the legislative process needed to locate the Sampson Veterans Cemetery is now complete .
Chuck Lafler, Chairman of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors, said, ???We are very proud to have this new Veterans Cemetery in Seneca County. We will serve as dedicated stewards to ensure the new cemetery is maintained in a way that honors the proud service of New York’s veterans. We are grateful to Senator Nozzolio for his support of Seneca County and thank him for his efforts on establishing the Sampson Veterans Cemetery.”
Carmen Pascarella of the Veterans Advisory Board said, “After many years of hard work with Senator Nozzolio, I am extremely pleased that we will now have a veterans cemetery in our region that everyone can be proud of. All of our efforts have finally come to fruition.”
Senator Nozzolio has secured $500,000 in state funding for the creation of the Sampson Veterans Cemetery, which will be operated by a not-for-profit organization to be determined.
The site of the proposed cemetery, the Sampson United States Naval and Air Force Base, served as a naval training station during World War II and was later used as an Air Force Basic Training Center. Constructed in 1942, Sampson trained over 400,000 naval recruits during its years of operation. Sailors trained at Sampson fought and participated in every major battle of World War II. During the Korean War the property was converted to the Sampson Air Force Base and over 300,000 airmen received their basic training there from 1950 until 1956. The Sampson Memorial Naval Museum and Air Force Museum are currently located at the site.
All honorably discharged veterans and their spouses will be eligible for burial at the Sampson Veterans Cemetery. The guidelines for the cemetery will be based on federal veteran cemetery standards. This will include opening and closing of the graves, perpetual upkeep and maintenance, government headstone or marker, burial flag and presidential certificate.