By DAVID LEE
KINDERHOOK – The annual observation of the birthday of the 8th President of the United States Martin Van Buren was conducted on Tuesday morning, December 5 in the Kinderhook Cemetery, on County Route 21, where he was buried. President Van Buren was born in Kinderhook on December 5, 1782.
Extending dignity to the event were honor guards from the New York Army National Guard and the Palmer Engine and Hose Company. Other dignitaries included NY State Assemblyman Scott Bendett (R-107th) and the representatives of other state lawmakers Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th), Congressman Marc Molinaro (R-19) and state Senator Michelle Hinchey (D-41st). Several wreaths were installed at the foot of the marker by representatives of the Friends of Lindenwald, the Martin Van Buren Historic Site, Kinderhook Supervisor Tim Ooms on behalf of the County Board of Supervisors and representatives of the Kinderhook Garden Club. A wreath was placed by Valatie Mayor Frank Bevens and Kinderhook Mayor Mike Abrams who also acted as the Master of Ceremonies.
A wreath was placed on behalf of the President of the United States by National Guard Major General Michael Natali with Guard Command Sergeant Major Edwin Garris after which “taps” was played. Major General Natali also provided remarks covering the history of President Van Buren.
According to the National Guard media relations, it has been since the Johnson Administration that military officers have laid a wreath from the sitting president at the graves of former presidents on their birthdays.
Highest respect was reserved for the Ichabod Crane Central School District’s 4th grade dignitaries who recited highlights of President Van Buren’s life and sang “Happy Birthday.”