Graceland Cemetery has operated for the benefit of residents of New York’s capital district and surrounding communities since May 1902. It is non-sectarian, located on the banks of the Normanskill and borders the Town of Bethlehem on the Albany side of Delaware Avenue.
Graceland Cemetery is a New York corporation, organized under the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York and is regulated by the New York State Division of Cemeteries. With over 228 acres, Graceland is prepared to handle the needs of the the Capital District for decades to come.
Graceland Cemetery, Albany, NY – Spanish War Memorial
After the close of the Spanish war there grew out of that conflict several organizations having for their object the perpetuation of the memories of those days and such needful help as could be afforded to their comrades and dependents. Of these organizations the most prominent were the “Spanish War Veterans,” “Spanish- American War Veterans,” “Service Men of the Spanish- American War,” “Legion of the Spanish- American War Veterans,” and the “Veteran Army of the Philippines.”
Realizing that scattered efforts and divided membership could never bring about the objects for which these various organizations were formed, three of them —- “Spanish War Veterans,” the “Service Men of the Spanish- American War” and the “Spanish-American War Veterans”— in 1904, amalgamated. The organization which grew out of the amalgamation of the bodies above referred to, became the “United Spanish War Veterans,” and the only one the membership of which was composed exclusively of men who served during the Spanish-American War period.
In the city of Washington, D.C., in 1906, the Legion of Spanish War Veterans, which at that time was confined exclusively to the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, amalgamated with the United Spanish War Veterans. In May 1908, in Washington, the Veteran Army of the Philippines amalgamated with the United Spanish War Veterans. When this organization came into the United Spanish War Veterans every organization composed exclusively of men who had seen service in the Spanish War period was then under one head. The United Spanish War Veterans existed until 1992 when the last member died.
A site deeded to the Palmer Camp was established with creation of the Cemetery in 1906, and was the site of their annual rededication around the end of May each year until the late 1950’s when the Spanish American War veterans had either died off or were too infirm to continue their noble tradition. The memorial, was constructed in 1917 by members of the Frank R. Palmer Camp #18 of the United Spanish War Veterans (the forerunner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars) Interred at the memorial site are 67 soldiers and sailors. This site is deeded to the current Sheehy-Palmer VFW Post.
The memorial itself is composed of a main concrete structure dating back to 1917. Sixty-seven white marble head stones, arranged in concentric circles, are adjacent. Included among the soldiers and sailors buried there are members of the 177th NY Volunteer Infantry (the 10th Regiment’s federal designation during the Civil War) and the 1st NY Volunteer Infantry (Spanish-American War).
Both of those units were formed from the 10th NY Infantry Regiment, whose colors and honors are carried by the 10th BDE NY Guard. In addition, there are veterans from other units of both wars buried there as well as veterans from the Indian Wars including U.S. Colored Troops (Buffalo Soldiers) and WW I veterans, including the 51st Pioneer Regiment (the 10th Regiment’s federal designation during WWI).
There are also a number of other graves throughout the cemetery of 177th, 1st NYV and 51st Pioneers that are not part of this special grouping.
The current VFW was first formed in 1914 from the merger of two prior veterans organizations which both arose in 1899: the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines. The former was formed for veterans of the Spanish– American War, while the latter was formed for veterans of the Philippine–American War.
The memorial was repaired and upgraded in 2001 by the members of the 10th BDE, as part of a guardHELP project.
In 2002, the 10th BDE dedicated a bronze plaque at the site, to commemorate the service of Command Sergeant Major James A. Speranza, a veteran of 52 years of military service (NYARNG, USAR and NYG) who had conceived and spearheaded the restoration project but who died before the project was completed.
The 10th Brigade has commemorated the service of its forebears each year on the first Sunday in May, along with members of the Sheehy-Palmer Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars (which, itself, was an outgrowth of the United Spanish War Veterans). In 2011 an added connection between the 10th and the VFW post was identified, as Frank Rockwell Palmer was the Commander of the 10th battalion in 1899 when the original Camp was established by veterans of the 10th. Major Palmer died suddenly in April 1900 and the Camp was named for him. As the establishment of the original Palmer Post was primarily made up of 10th Battalion and 10th Regiment veterans, as the Post was named for a former Commander of the 10th, and as a number of 10th Veterans are buried here, this has become a touchstone for the 10th Brigade NYG.
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