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    New York National Guard honors president who gave the world 'OK'

    New York National Guard honors President Martin Van Buren

    Photo By Eric Durr | A wreath from President Barack Obama takes pride of place among a number of wreaths...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    KINDERHOOK, N.Y.—The man who gave the English language the term “OK” was honored by the New York National Guard on the 233rd anniversary of his birthday, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in this small Hudson Valley village.

    New York Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Raymond Shields and New York State Command Sgt. Maj. David Piwowarski placed a wreath from President Barack Obama at the gravesite of President Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, who was also the first president who was not born as the subject of an English King.

    “It is very, very important to remember what they have done for us and to commemorate their lives and accomplishments, said Shields, the Director of Joint Staff for the New York National Guard.

    A wreath from the sitting president is traditionally placed at the gravesites of former presidents on the anniversary of their birth. Placing the wreath at Van Buren’s grave in the Dutch Reformed Cemetery in Kinderhook is the responsibility of the New York National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters.

    Shields and Piwowarski were joined by a joint color guard of New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, as well as an Honor Cordon of New York National Guard Soldiers and a Guard chaplain.

    The laying of the presidential wreath was also accompanied by wreaths from the village and town of Kinderhook, the local garden club, which cares for the Van Buren grave site, the National Park Service, which maintains the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site here, and the Friends of Lindenwald, a group which raises funds to help preserve Van Buren’s home, called Lindenwald.

    U.S. Representative Chris Gibson, a resident of Kinderhook and retired Army Colonel, also spoke at the event.

    As president from 1837 to 1841, Van Buren faced a number of challenges, many of which were similar to the questions facing the country today, Gibson said. But some of these issues – like those of a bank “too big to fail’’ and the size and scope of the federal government—are the same ones he and his colleagues in Congress deal with today, Gibson said.

    “When I walk through the square,’ Gibson said,” and I look over at ( the statute of ) Martin Van Buren, I sometimes say to myself, ‘What do you think of that, Marty?-’”

    Van Buren, who died in 1862, was born on Dec. 5 1782, grew up speaking Dutch, which made him the first president who did not speak English as his first language.

    Van Buren served as president from 1837 to 1841 He ran twice more for the office but was defeated.

    Prior to running for president he had a long career in New York state politics where he served as a state Senator, a U.S. Senator, attorney general and governor. He served a secretary of state and vice president for President Andrew Jackson.

    During his political career, Van Buren became known as “Old Kinderhook” and his supporters began using “OK” as shorthand on their signs to show they supported him.

    As president, Van Buren would initial "OK" for “Old Kinderhook” on documents he was forwarded to indicate he had read and approved them. When he ran for a second term as president in 1840 his supporters formed "OK Clubs" which is also thought to have popularized the term.

    Van Buren pushed for the creation of national political parties which would include members from all regions of the country rather than regional groupings which he feared would lead to the dissolution of the country.



    Date Taken: 12.05.2015
    Date Posted: 12.07.2015 10:18
    Story ID: 183672
    Location: KINDERHOOK, NY, US 
    Hometown: KINDERHOOK, NY, US

    Web Views: 125
    Downloads: 1