MENANDS, New York -The New York Army National Guard recognized the 21st President of the United States, Chester Arthur, during a rainy ceremony at his grave site in Albany Rural Cemetery on October 5, 2022, the 193rd anniversary of his birth in rural Vermont.

Army Major General Michel Natali, the assistant adjutant general of the New York National Guard, presented a wreath from President Joseph Biden, honoring his predecessor, as taps sounded, and an honor cordon of Soldiers presented arms.

Natali was carrying on a tradition that began in 1967 when President Lyndon Baines Johnson sent wreaths to be presented at the gravesites of his predecessors on their birthday. Every president since then has carried on the tradition, Natali said.

“It’s important that we remember the accomplishments of our previous presidents,” Natali said.

Arthur has particular significance for the New York National Guard, Natali told the 40 people who assembled for the ceremony, because he served as a brigadier general in the New York State Militia.

During the Civil War he supervised the construction and maintenance of fortifications guarding New York Harbor as chief engineer, and went on to serve as inspector general, visiting New York troops in the field, Natali said.

Ultimately, he was named quartermaster general with the responsibility for clothing, equipping and providing weapons for many of the 300 regiments New York raised for the war, Natali said.

Arthur was strongly opposed to slavery, and as a young lawyer in 1854 he handled a precedent-setting lawsuit which allowed Black New Yorkers to ride along side their White neighbors on public transportation in New York, Natali said.