When Memorial Day comes around each May, the excitement is palpable. Summer is here and our lists of plans and dreams for the warm months ahead bounce from pool parties to vacations to summer Fridays to sandy beaches and BBQs with friends. But the true meaning of the holiday is sometimes buried by the summer season kick-off.
This Memorial Day, take some extra time to remember those who have selflessly served their nation, those whose lives have been lost. New York State is rich with the history of soldiers fighting for their country, soldiers fallen, battles won and lost. The monuments, memorials and especially cemeteries tell amazing stories of strength and bravery. While you’re spending long summer weekends eating, drinking, relaxing and playing in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, the Finger Lakes, etc., spend a warm afternoon walking through one of the many cemeteries or memorials open to the public, inviting nature lovers, history buffs and deep thinkers to wander in and explore the past. Check out the list below:
Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Long Island, a steep, lush, grassy hill, was the final resting place of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt. At certain times of year, when the grand maples have lost their leaves, you can look out at the glistening waves of Oyster Bay while standing beside T.R.’s grave.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY (Hudson Valley Region) was established in 1847 by Washington Irving. In addition to Irving, many other notable figures are buried across the 100 acres in Westchester County, such as William Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, and many more.
Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, NY (Capital-Saratoga Region) is a place to honor loved ones, contemplate nature, explore art and architecture, and discover the rich history of Upstate New York. Founded in 1848, Oakwood is one of America’s largest rural cemeteries, commanding a spectacular panoramic view of the Hudson Valley. Oakwood is the final resting place of many of the area’s most prominent citizens, including “Uncle Sam” Wilson.
St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, NY (Hudson Valley Region) was founded in the 19th century and was attended by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. This Dutchess County historic landmark is the burial site of Robert Livingston, a writer of the Declaration of Independence.
Concordia Cemetery in Buffalo, NY (Greater Niagara Region) was established in 1859 as a final resting place for German Protestant immigrants. The 15 acres now hold 20,000 people of all ethnicities and religions, including 450 veterans, 132 of them from the Civil War alone.
Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY (Finger Lakes Region) is a historic burial site established in 1851. Many notable people — Civil War officers, Revolutionary War soldiers, government officials, esteemed scientists and artists, even American abolitionist Harriet Tumban — have been buried here.
Clarkstown Reformed Church and Cemetery in West Nyack, NY (Hudson Valley Region) has been in use for two centuries and contains the graves of soldiers of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown, NY (Chautauqua-Allegheny Region) is home to more then 44,000 souls, of which 2,900 are veterans, spanning from the American Revolution up to and including today’s veterans. Three Medal of Honor recipients are among them.
Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY (Finger Lakes Region) was established in 1838. It is the final resting place of Susan B. Anthony and her family, Frederick Douglass and his family, and many more notable figures.One of the most remarkable Victorian cemeteries in America, the 196 acres are filled with lofty hills and picturesque valleys open to history buffs, nature lovers and more.
The Ithaca City Cemetery in Ithaca, NY (Finger Lakes) is a 16-acre burial site, which includes a Civil War memorial. Learn more about the Tompkins County region here.
The Revolutionary War Cemetery in Salem, NY (Capitol-Saratoga Region) was established in the 1700s and is home to the graves of over 100 Revolutionary War soldiers.
The Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, NY (Capital-Saratoga Region) is the 116th national cemetery and sprawls across 350 acres.
Want to make a trip but don’t have a car? Metro-North, Amtrak and Zipcar can get you to your destination in no time!