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Letter: Veterans cemetery ought to be named for Donovan

Veterans cemetery ought to be named for Donovan

It was disappointing when the new federal courthouse in Buffalo was not named for native son William Donovan, one of our nation’s greatest patriots who served in the Department of Justice as an Assistant Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York. Donovan received the Medal of Honor and is the only American to receive our nation’s four highest decorations. He served as an adviser to President Franklin Roosevelt and commanded the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War II predecessor to the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command.

As consolation, Sen. Charles Schumer held a press conference in July 2014 and announced that a new veterans cemetery in Western New York would be named in Donovan’s honor. He said: “ ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan is a true Western New York hero, and I cannot think of any better way to commemorate his life, and honor our region’s veterans, than by naming the new Western New York Veterans Cemetery after ‘Wild Bill.’ ”

We were disappointed again in May 2016 when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs decided it would be named the Western New York Veterans Cemetery because it “best met [its] naming criteria.” It is mystifying that there is no recognition in Buffalo or Western New York for a man who risked his life defending his country in two world wars whom President Dwight Eisenhower called the “last hero.”

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Donovan’s World War I combat that resulted in his being awarded the Medal of Honor. I cannot think of a better way to mark this historic milestone than by naming this cemetery in his honor.

Charles Pinck

President, OSS Society

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