PEMBROKE, N.Y. (WIVB) – What’s now wide open space in Pembroke will soon become hallowed ground for veterans.
A proposed cemetery that will save thousands of military families from having to travel to what is now the closest veterans cemetery in Bath.
Veterans Advocate Dr. Patrick Welch said, “This gives us the choice to either go into a private cemetery or to be buried with those who we have served with.”
Senator Chuch Schumer teamed up veterans groups to secure 132 acres of land just north of the Pembroke exit of the New York state thruway.
A final resting place that will be minutes instead of hours away from Buffalo.
Todd Baxter from the Veterans Outreach Center of Rochester said, “Loved ones can come visit and pay tribute and bring next generations to show where their loved ones are laid to rest and reflect on the sacrifices they made for our community.”
There is also a plan to purchase 60 additional acres from the Haeger family.
Robert Haeger, a veteran, said, “Something that I feel makes it very useful part of the land that otherwise would go back to the wild and it’s really making me feel good.”
Senator Schumer also wants the Department of Veterans Affairs to name this local cemetery after a local hero, “Wild Bill” Donovan.
He’s the only U.S. Soldier ever to receive all of the nation’s four highest honors.
Dr. Welch explained, “He is a huge part of the history of this country, not only in terms of his service but also in terms of establishing the OSS which became the forerunner of the CIA so the intelligence community owes a great deal to General Donovan.”
The planning and design phase will begin this year and last for up to two years, then construction will take another two years.
It will be the end of a long battle these veterans have fought to honor their comrades.