DVIDS – News – New York National Guard General honors President Martin Van Buren
KINDERHOOK, NY – The New York Army National Guard honored President Martin Van Buren, in Kinderhook, New York on Sunday, December 5, where he was born in 1782 and where he lived the latter part of his life before dying in 1862.
The army brigadier. Gen. Isabel Rivera Smith, the director of the New York National Guard’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Sgt. Major Jeff Colling presides over a wreath from President Joseph Biden at Van Buren’s grave at Kinderhook Reformed Cemetery on the 239th anniversary of his birth.
Every year, military officers lay a wreath from the current occupant of the White House on the graves of deceased presidents on their birthdays.
The New York National Guard is also responsible for laying wreaths at the graves of President Chester Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, in Albany, and Millard Fillmore, the 13th President, in Buffalo.
Smith and Colling were accompanied by an honor guard of ten soldiers, a color guard, a chaplain and a bugle. After presenting the crown to the White House, Smith and Colling saluted as the bugle sounded taps.
It is an honor to represent President Joseph Biden and honor the eighth President of the United States in the Hudson Valley village where he grew up and retired, Smith said.
The annual ceremony at Van Buren’s grave involves the whole community. Representatives from the town of Kinderhook, the village of Kinderhook, Columbia County and local civic groups, as well as the National Park Service, also laid wreaths at Van Buren’s grave.
Students from Ichabod Crane Middle School recited key elements from Van Buren’s life.
Community involvement is what makes this event so special, said Megan O’Malley, Superintendent of Martin Van Buren National Historic Site.
âHe was a product and a champion of this community,â O’Malley said.
âMartin Van Buren was too young to be a founding father,â Smith said. He was not born when the Declaration of Independence was drafted in 1776 and he was five when the Constitutional Convention was held in 1787.
âBut he, too, shaped the future of young America,â Smith said.
He held a number of state and local positions and created the first national party, the Democratic Party, she said.
But, Smith noted that while Van Buren was remarkably accomplished and politically astute, he was not a popular president.
A financial collapse known as the Panic of 1837 followed it to power and the U.S. military was embroiled in a protracted war against the Seminole Indians in Florida, she noted.
He was condemned by those against slavery for defending his existence in the southern states while he was president, but unsuccessfully ran as an anti-slavery candidate for president in 1848.
Van Buren was the first president who was not originally a British subject. His family is descended from Dutch settlers in New York, and he grew up speaking Dutch as his first language.
Van Buren became a lawyer and ran for the New York State Senate at the age of 21. He was chosen to represent New York in the United States Senate in 1821.
Van Buren served as governor of New York before becoming secretary of state under President Andrew Jackson. He was vice president during Jackson’s second term and was elected president in 1836.
He was so good at politics that he was nicknamed “The Red Fox of Kinderhook”, after his red hair.
Another Van Buren nickname – “Old Kinderhook” – is said to have prompted the use of the term “OK”. Van Buren has reportedly initialed the documents he endorsed as “OK” and his supporters have formed “OK clubs”.
After losing the 1848 election, he retired to Lindenwald, his home outside of Kinderhook.
He died on July 24, 1862 at the age of 79 and was buried next to his wife, Hanna, his parents and his son, Martin Van Buren Jr.
âThe forty-five men who served as presidents had different political views, and they faced different political challenges,â she said.
“But they were all chosen by democratic processes, and they all sought to do what they thought was best for the United States,” she added.
âBy being here today and participating in this ceremony, we affirm that we all have faith in the system that has governed our country since 1791,â said Smith.
|Date posted:||05/12/2021 2:24 PM|
|Site:||KINDERHOOK, NY, United States|
|Hometown:||KINDERHOOK, NY, United States|
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