New York is one of only four states in the country that does not have a state veterans cemetery, but several local officials are hoping to change that.

Congressman Anthony Brindisi, Oneida County Executive Anthon Picente, Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, a representative from Senator Joseph Griffo's office and representatives of several area Veterans organizations met today with VA Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs, Randy Reeves. They are hoping to locate New York's first state cemetery for veterans on approximately 150 acres of currently vacant land owned by Oneida County near the old county airport in Whitestown (near Cider Street and Postal Road).

''What we want people to know is that Oneida County loves our veterans, and we want to make sure they have the dignity and respect they have earned,'' NY-22 Congressman Brindisi said, adding that our region has some 54,000 veterans who deserve to have the option to laid to rest in a local veterans cemetery.

''Our mission and vision is to ensure that no veteran ever dies. We all die two deaths; We die the first death with breath leaves us, but we only truly die sometime in the future when no one speaks our name or tells our story,'' Reeves said.

Whether a federal, state or tribal cemetery for veterans, Reeves said, they are places where veterans can live forever through words, thoughts and the re-telling of their stories.

While the land is owned by the county and the plan is supported by Picente, New York State would ultimately have final say on designating and approving the effort, officials said.

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