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    New York National Guard honors 21st president in graveside ceremony

    New York National Guard honors President Chester Arthur

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone | New York Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey speaks during a ceremony...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    MENANDS, N.Y.- The New York National Guard honored President Chester Arthur on Oct. 5, the 186th anniversary of the 21st president's birth, by placing a wreath from President Barack Obama at his grave site in historic Albany Rural Cemetery here.

    Chester Arthur, a former school teacher in nearby Vermont, a lawyer, a Republican politician and a member of the New York National Guard, became president on Sept. 19, 1881, when President James Garfield died from a bullet wound suffered at the hands of an assassin on July 2, 1881.

    Arthur finished out Garfield's term and died less than a year after leaving office on Nov. 19, 1886.

    New York Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey, the commander of the 53rd Troop Command, joined New York State Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Wilson in placing the wreath at Arthurs tomb.

    Arthur is one of six presidents who is buried in New York.
    Military units across the country honor presidents on the day of their birth by placing a wreath from the sitting president on the graves of their predecessors.

    The New York National Guard honors Presidents Martin Van Buren and Millard Filmore, who are interred in Kinderhook, New York and Buffalo, New York, respectively, along with Arthur.

    An Honor Cordon, Color Guard, and bugler playing Taps were also part of the short ceremony.

    As a member of the New York State Militia Arthur played a key role in mobilizing New York's resources for the Civil War, Swezey reminded his listeners.

    Arthur was promoted brigadier general in the militia and served in the quartermaster department. Eventually he became Quartermaster General and was responsible for equipping and transporting 70 New York Volunteer Regiments, totaling about 70,000 Soldiers, during his two years on the job.

    From 1871 to 1878 he was the chief Customs Inspector in New York City and the leader of the "Stalwart" wing of the Republican Party. He was elected vice president during the election of 1880.

    Arthur distinguished himself as a Soldier and then went on to become a reformer as president, Swezey said.

    During his time in office he promoted the first federal Civil Service Law, oversaw the implementation of the first law governing immigration, and organized an international conference to that set the prime meridian-used for determining a place on earth and for time keeping-as running through Greenwich, England.

    Arthur, who had been in poor health during the latter part of his term, died of a cerebral hemorrhage and is buried next to his wife Ellen who died of pneumonia in 1880.



    Date Taken: 10.05.2015
    Date Posted: 10.05.2015 16:28
    Story ID: 178179
    Location: MENANDS , NY, US 

    Web Views: 88
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