PRINCETON, N.J. – The Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command hosted a wreath-laying ceremony for President Grover Cleveland at his gravesite in Princeton Cemetery, March 18, 2013.
Serving as the event’s official party were Brig. Gen. Mikey Kloster, commanding general of the Army Reserve’s 98th Training Division, the Honorable Liz Lempert, mayor of Princeton, and Bob Maguire, the civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for New Jersey.
“President Cleveland’s life can be summed up as one of service to his country,” said Kloster, who serves as the 99th RSC’s chief of staff in her civilian career. “President Cleveland certainly lived the value of ‘service to our nation’ during his 71 years, putting the welfare of our nation and its citizens before his own life.”
“His memory continues to be honored through this annual wreath-laying ceremony,” she added.
The event celebrated the 176th birthday of the only person to have served two non-consecutive presidential terms, first from 1884 to 1888 and again from 1892 to 1896.
“He was a man who held steadfastly to what he believed,” said Maguire, who has served as New Jersey’s CASA since July 2005. “Cleveland personified the basic American values of honesty, courage and common sense.”
Following his second presidency, Cleveland spent 11 years as a Princeton resident until his death in 1908.
“President Cleveland came to visit Princeton during the end of his second term,” said Lempert, adding that the reception he received during Princeton University’s 150th anniversary parade led him to take up residency here during his retirement. “He fell in love with the town, and when his term was over he decided to come make Princeton his home.”
“While he was in Princeton, he engaged in the university, he engaged in civic life, and he became a very valued member of the community,” she added.
The Presidential Wreath Laying Program is administered by the White House Military Office, which is responsible for coordinating the annual placement of presidential wreaths at the tombs and resting places of former presidents, other famous Americans and at certain memorials of historical significance.
Prior to August 1966, there was no particular pattern to the list that was maintained, and examination of the files reveal that the occasions were built up over the years upon the request of various private and public organizations that were interested in particular dates.
The repeated placement of a number of these wreaths through the years led to the development of the "President's Approved Wreath List" approved by President Johnson, Aug. 11, 1966, and further expanded with the passing of additional former presidents.