NY National Guard recognizes President Chester Arthur during Albany Rural Cemetery ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 5

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NY Army National Guard leaders present the presidential wreath at Chester Arthur's grave site in October 2020.

MENANDS, NY (10/04/2021) (readMedia)-- New York Air National Guard Major General Timothy LaBarge will honor Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States who graduated from Union College, with a formal wreath laying on his grave at Albany Rural Cemetery on Tuesday, October 5, the 192nd anniversary of his birth.

WHO: Major General Timothy LaBarge, the commander of the New York Air National Guard, representatives of Albany Rural Cemetery, and men and women of the New York Air National Guard.

WHAT: Annual presentation of a wreath at the grave of Chester A. Arthur, the 21st president of the United States who died on Nov. 18, 1886 at age 57. The United States military traditionally lays a wreath at the graves of Presidents of the United States on the anniversary of their birth. The wreaths are from the current president to former presidents.

WHEN: 11 a.m., Tuesday, October 5, 2020

WHERE: Albany Rural Cemetery, Cemetery Avenue, Menands (follow the Cemetery event signs to Chester Arthur's memorial)

Coverage Opportunities:

Visual opportunities will include the formal wreath-laying ceremony, and the presentation of the colors by a New York Air National Guard Color Guard. An Honor Cordon of troops will be present. A bugler will play taps. Natali will deliver a few brief remarks and there will be an opportunity to interview him.


Chester Arthur, a former school teacher in nearby Vermont, a lawyer, a Republican politician and a member of the New York National Guard, became president on Sept. 19, 1881 when President James Garfield died from a bullet wound suffered at the hands of an assassin on July 2, 1881. Born in Vermont, Arthur attended Union College in Schenectady for both his bachelors and advanced degrees and lived in Hoosick, New York.

He had never held political office before being elected as vice president.

Arthur worked as a lawyer and was active in Republican politics in New York. In 1855 he represented Elizabeth Jennings, an African-American woman who had been thrown off a New York City horsecar in July 1854 because only white people were allowed to ride that car. He won Jennings a settlement of $225 in damages and the court ruled the Black Americans could not be excluded from public transit provided they were "sober, well behaved, and free from disease."

Arthur also served as the Judge Advocate General of the New York National Guard, then known as the New York State Militia. In this capacity he drafted a military law which restructured the organization.

During the Civil War he was appointed Quartermaster General of New York and was responsible for equipping and transporting 70 New York Volunteer Regiments, totaling about 70,000 Soldiers, during his two years on the job. He erected a tent city in New York for deploying Soldiers and was also charged with surveying the New York harbor fortifications to prepare them for defense.

From 1871 to 1878 he was the chief Customs Inspector in New York City and the leader of the "Stalwart" wing of the Republican Party. He was elected vice president during the election of 1880.

During his time in office he signed the first federal Civil Service Law, oversaw the implementation of the first law governing immigration, and organized an international conference to that set the prime meridian-used for determining a place on earth and for time keeping-as running through Greenwich, England.

He is also created with being the father of the modern United States Navy since he endorsed the construction of steel, coal-fired steam engine propelled ships, and the creation of the Naval War College to teach officers strategy.

Arthur, who had been in poor health during the latter part of his term as the result of a kidney disease, died of a cerebral hemorrhage less than two years after leaving office, and is buried next to his wife Ellen who died of pneumonia in 1880.

The writer Mark Twain, who was notoriously cynical about politicians praised Arthur upon his death.

"I am but one in 55,000,000; still, in the opinion of this one-fifty-five-millionth of the country's population, it would be hard to better President Arthur's administration," Twain said.