BUFFALO, N.Y. (01/05/2019) The New York Air National Guard's 107th Attack Wing will mark the 218th birthday of President Millard Fillmore on Monday, Jan. 7, during a graveside ceremony at Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery at 10:30 a.m.
New York Air National Guard Col. Eric Laughton, the commander of the 107th Attack Wing's 107th Medical Group, will place a wreath from President Donald Trump at the gravesite as part of a commemoration of Fillmore's life organized by the University at Buffalo.
The current president of the United States of America sends a wreath to mark the grave of his predecessors on their birthday. The duty of delivering those wreaths is entrusted to military officers.
The 107th Attack Wing has traditionally represented the White House at the annual ceremonies held at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
The New York National Guard is also responsible for placing the presidential wreaths at the graves of President Martin Van Buren in Kinderhook, N.Y. and President Chester Arthur in Menands, N.Y.
Fillmore, the 13th president, was born on January 7, 1800 in Moravia, Cayuga County, and served as president from July 1850 to March 1853. He was elected vice president in the election of 1848 and became president upon the death of President Zachery Taylor. He was the last president who was not a democrat or a republican.
As president, Fillmore dispatched Commodore Matthew Perry and his fleet to open trade with Japan and approved pieces of legislation -including the admission of California as a state- that were part of the Compromise of 1850 which sought to maintain a balance between slave states and free states in pre-Civil War America.
One part of that package was the Fugitive Slave Act which made it illegal to help escaping slaves in the northern states, and required the federal government to help slave owners recapture men and women seeking freedom in the north..
The law was deeply unpopular in the north and Fillmore was not nominated by the Whig Party for a second term. He was nominated for president by the Know Nothing Party in 1856 but did not actively campaign.
Fillmore helped found the University at Buffalo in 1846 and served as its first chancellor.
He died on March 8, 1874 in Buffalo.