New York State Funeral Directors Association

You were their hope for the future.

For your elders, your birth represented things they wished would happen but that they’d never know.

It was a joy for them to see you come into the world but for you, as in the new book “Ladysitting” by Lorene Cary, it’s harder to see them go.

Members of the Michigan Society Sons of the American Revolution color guard perform military honors over the grave of Pvt. James Robinson, an African-American hero of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 at Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Mich., June 22, 2019 (Michigan National Guard Photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton).

A three-volley rifle salute, the playing of taps, and the presentation of an American flag to the next-of-kin or family representative: these rituals are customarily performed at the funeral services of nearly every American veteran as a symbol of their faithful and dedicated service.

Saturday, those honors were rendered for the first time over the grave of Pvt. James Robinson, a hero of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 decorated by the Marquis de Lafayette at the Battle of Yorktown.

Burial grounds – whether they are private family graveyards or large, public cemeteries – are constantly facing challenges like severe weather, vandalism and the ravages of time.

Many have fallen into disrepair; others lost their governing boards and fell into the hands of localities that are less-than-eager to maintain them.

But in many places of New York State, residents, neighbors and volunteers are embracing the value of these historic final resting places.

Video: Slaves No More

New York's Capital Region honors, re-buries Colonial-era slaves. Found by accident in an unmarked cemetery, scientists pinpointed their African origin and the community held a wake and funeral.

Video: Family History

Today, resources are becoming more widely available, giving people the ability to learn exciting stories about their ancestors. Find 14 great tips on the Blog.


SympathyNotes is written to stimulate discussion of death and grief. Opinions do not reflect the views of NYSFDA.

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