More than 80 headstones were purchased by the Red Cross in 1919
On Saturday, May 28, members of the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteer committee will return to Riverdale Cemetery to honor 47 unclaimed World War I veterans this Memorial Day by planting flowers at their gravesites and cleaning up the surrounding area.
The gravesites, 82 in total, surround an American Red Cross monument purchased by the former Niagara Falls chapter for unclaimed veterans of World War I in January 1919.
Lisa Taibi, regional program manager of service to the armed forces (SAF) and international services for the American Red Cross of Western New York region, noticed the monument, along with dozens of grave markers, while visiting the graves of nearby family members.
After an investigation turned up limited information surrounding the early 1900’s purchase, Taibi and the SAF committee embraced the opportunity to honor the veterans last year. The committee, which also held the first Wreaths Across America dedication at the site in December, will return to scrub headstones, plant flowers and place flags in recognition of the veterans’ service and sacrifice to the country.
The Service to the Armed Forces committee is a group of volunteers who help to support members of the military, veterans and their families. From home comfort kits and volunteering at local VA hospitals, to supporting military families during life’s emergencies, the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces helps members of the military, veterans and their families to prepare for, cope with and respond to the challenges of military service.
The program will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Riverdale Cemetery, 5605 Old Lewiston Road, (section four).
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit on Twitter at @RedCross.