Ceremony for Pres. Arthur affected by government shutdown

Posted at: 10/05/2013 2:57 PM
Updated at: 10/05/2013 3:03 PM
By: Dan Bazile

Saturday marks the birthday of President Chester Arthur. He was honored in a wreath laying ceremony at the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands.

The yearly event had less pomp and circumstance because of the partial government shutdown.

A gun salute and a Military Color Guard were all part of the program paying tribute to the former President on the anniversary of his birthday.

Chester Arthur was the nation's 21st president. He was born in Vermont and went to Union College in Schenectady. He became president in 1881 and was buried at the Albany Rural Cemetery in 1886, the spot where the wreath laying took place Saturday morning in front of a small crowd.

Jen Jack, who's about to turn 13, appreciates the history lesson right in her backyard.

“I have kind of a connection with him. His birthday is the day before mine. I know a lot about him,” says the teen.

The event, which takes place annually, almost didn't happen this year. The Division of Military and Naval Affairs could not participate in the ceremony because the Federal Government is still shut down.

At the last minute on Friday, the Marine Corp League, which is a volunteer organization, agreed to fill in.

“The difference was noticeable to those who've been here before to pay their respects,” says one volunteer.

The program this year was much shorter compared to last year where there was a larger military presence and a bugler to play taps.