New York State Funeral Directors Association

Father Francis Duffy, Regimental Chaplain of the 165th Infantry Regiment, the Army’s famous “Fighting 69th” Irish regiment, officiates a funeral service for a Soldier of the 117th Field Signal Battalion of the 42nd Infantry “Rainbow Division” March 19, 1918. Duffy spent much of March 1918 officiating for the casualties of the Irish regiment’s first combat casualties of WWI, including the 21 Soldiers killed by the Rouge Bouquet artillery barrage March 7, 1918. The Rainbow Division spent March 1918 under French command to gain combat experience in trench warfare of the Western Front. The division would serve in its own sector as a full division combat force in April 1918. Photo courtesy of the New York State Military Museum.

Editor’s Note: This Clergy Appreciation Day – the Second Sunday in October – takes place during the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of World War I. In honor of both, here is an article, reprinted with permission, from A Living Memorial, Volume II, Chapter 4, by Colin Baker and Lynn Rainville. From the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Saluting The Work of American Chaplains at the Meuse-Argonne

As long as armies have existed, chaplains have provided for soldiers’ spiritual needs, aided the wounded, improved morale and buried the dead in improvised cemeteries.

Chaplains have served in the U.S. army since the Revolutionary War.

Friends talk by the waterside

When we don't know what to say to someone who has suffered a loss, we may be tempted to turn to an old, worn-out cliche.

Unfortunately, in our attempt to be helpful, we may wind up saying something hurtful and leave the person feeling more pain or frustration.

The bear that started it all: Mary Kirsten crafted this teddy bear out of her late husband's shirt, and she's made hundreds for the grieving ever since.

Mary Kirsten has good days and bad days.

Since the death of her husband Ray, she calls bad ones “cliff days.”

“A smell, a sound or a song can just put you over the edge where you just fall apart,” Kirsten said.

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.

SympathyNotes Facebook

Connect with SympathyNotes

FB Blue    Twitter Blue

SympathyNotes is copyrighted but may be reproduced with attribution. For reprint permission, please contact Ed Munger.