Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Veterans Service Agency (VSA) Director Christian Farrell joined members of the Nam Knights’ Orange County chapter to place American flags on more than 3,000 graves at the County’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Friday, May 22, to pay tribute to Memorial Day.
“Many thanks to the Nam Knights for their continued dedication to the interests of veterans and our community,” Neuhaus said. “This event is an important Memorial Day remembrance, allowing us to pay tribute to the servicemen and women who gave their lives in defense of our freedoms. We owe them our deepest respect and gratitude, and should never take their sacrifices for granted.”
The 19-acre Veterans Memorial Cemetery has approximately 12,500 plots, with almost 3,600 men and women interred there, including 3,000 veterans.
According to the county’s Veterans Service Agency, 832 Orange County residents have died serving the country in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the post-911 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to the U.S. In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. A ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans in Waterloo who had fought in the Civil War.
“May is a special month at the Orange County Veterans Memorial Cemetery as we recognize and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Farrell said. “The cemetery always looks very dignified during the Memorial Day weekend thanks to the work of the dedicated cemetery staff and the help of volunteers such as the Nam Knights who make sure every grave is marked with an American flag.”