Home : News
Guard News

NY Air National Guard honors President Millard Fillmore

By Airman Daniel Meade | New York National Guard | Jan. 13, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The deputy commander of the 107th Operations Group of the New York National Guard's 107th Attack Wing honored the nation's 13th president, Millard Fillmore, on his 220th birthday with a wreath-laying ceremony at his grave.

Lt. Col. Shawn Reynolds, representing President Trump, placed a wreath from the White House on Fillmore's grave in Forest Lawn Cemetery Jan. 7.

A wreath from the current president is placed on the graves of former presidents on their birthdays by members of the U.S. military. The New York National Guard also honors Presidents Chester Arthur, who is buried outside Albany, and Martin Van Buren, who is buried in Kinderhook.

The simple wreath is adorned in red, white and blue, with a card marked "The President."

Reynolds joined representatives of various organizations started by Fillmore in placing wreaths at this grave.

The 107th has represented the president in honoring Fillmore for more than three decades, Reynolds said.

"President Fillmore was a co-founder of the University at Buffalo," Reynolds said. "As an alumnus of the university myself, it was nice to be selected to lay the wreath for a president who is known for the community service he's done in the Buffalo area."

A Buffalo native, Fillmore immersed himself in the inner workings of the community and was part of writing the charter that incorporated Buffalo as a city in 1832. He also helped found such institutions as the Buffalo Historical Society, which today includes the Buffalo History Museum and Tifft Nature Preserve, in 1862.

Fillmore became vice president to President Zachary Taylor in 1849 while serving as the first chancellor of The University at Buffalo. After Taylor's sudden death in 1850, Fillmore was sworn in July 9 of that year.

After his presidency, Fillmore lived in Buffalo with his wife, Caroline, supporting every cause they could.

He died March 8, 1874, and hundreds of people, including three members of the U.S. Senate, attended his funeral.

"It's amazing the things that he helped start here in Buffalo," said Reynolds "I'm very honored to present this wreath and say a couple of words about President Fillmore."