View Photos From the Official Dedication Ceremony for the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Michael F. Nozzolio

August 05, 2011

After over a decade of hard work and years of planning, the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery was officially dedicated on Saturday, July 30th. More than 1,200 people, including hundreds of veterans, attended the ceremony.

State Senator Mike Nozzolio, who has fought hard to establish the world class cemetery on the site of the former Sampson Naval and Air Force Base, was a featured speaker at the ceremony. He spoke about the courage, honor and dignity exhibited by the veterans who will be buried at the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Senator Nozzolio thanked many community leaders and leaders of veterans organizations for their hard work in helping to establish the cemetery, including Rear Admiral Richard West, who was Keynote Speaker at the ceremony and Commander Thomas Watt, US Navy (Ret), who are seated to his left.

Pictured from left to right are: Rear Admiral Richard West, Keynote Speaker; Thomas Watt, CDR, US Navy Retired; Senator Mike Nozzolio.

Standing are Veterans from area VFW’s, American Legions and Auxiliaries.

Soloist Leigh Consolie of Geneva sang the National Anthem at the dedication ceremony as the assembled veterans salute the flag, which was previously flown above our Nation’s Capitol in Washington DC.

Pictured from left to right are: Rear Admiral Richard West, US Navy (Retired); Senator Mike Nozzolio; CDR Thomas Watt, US Navy (Retired); New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb; Cindy Campbell, Past President of New York State VFW Women’s Auxiliary, Assemblyman Gary Finch; Jim Hoffman, Chairman of Wayne County Board of Supervisors; Brigadier General Gary DiLallo, US Army Retired; Port Byron American Legion Members; Leigh Consolie of Geneva, NY, National Anthem Soloist.


Senator Nozzolio remarks on the more than 160 acres of hallowed ground that will soon be turned into the resting place for honorable men and women that risked their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.


Rear Admiral Richard West, US Navy (Retired) delivers the Keynote Address at the dedication. Admiral West is a distinguished and accomplished naval veteran whose 38-year military career has encompassed a wide range of operational experience, high-level assignments, and leadership positions. He was born while his father, World War II Navy veteran Dana L. West was serving as a Recruit Company Commander at the former Sampson Naval Base.

During his speech, Admiral West commended Senator Mike Nozzolio on his efforts and the efforts of so many others who worked hard to establish the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery as a lasting memorial honoring the service of our veterans.

Senator Nozzolio thanks Korean War Veteran Ralph Calabrese for his courage, bravery and service to our Nation.


Over 100 different area color guard members attended the Ceremony.


American Legion Riders and New York State Patriot Guard members circled the Ceremony as they proudly stood with dozens of American flags.


Jack Jarosinski, of Ontario, New York, performed "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes at the close of the dedication.


Pictured with Senator Nozzolio beneath the six flagpoles representing branches of the military are Commander Thomas Watt, US Navy (Retired), who served as Master of Ceremonies, and Rear Admiral Richard West, US Navy (Retired), who was Keynote speaker.


Senator Mike Nozzolio stands with the American Legion Winneck Post 396 Doughboys from Geneva, New York


During the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery Dedication Ceremony, the Geneva National Guard Alpha Troop 2-101 Cavalry posted the colors to show appreciation and representation for all branches of the military.

Pictured with Senator Mike Nozzolio is the Color Guard from the Geneva National Guard Alpha Troop 2-101 Cavalry.