Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 13, 2014

GLYNN: Shumer seeks place to honor Gen. Donovan

Niagara Gazette — The legendary William J. Donovan has lost the high profile that his outstanding service once claimed in downtown Buffalo.

A scaled-back image was inevitable with the massive redevelopment of lower Main Street and the historic Erie Canal area, a major move to revitalize the Queen City waterfront.  

As part of that ambitious plan, the former eight-story Donovan State Office Building has been impressively restored, with a Marriott hotel and the Phillips Lytle law firm sharing the building. For a time, some people were lobbying to name the new federal court building near Niagara Square for Donovan but, after considerable discussion, the name chosen was Robert H. Jackson, a U.S. Supreme Court justice who hailed from the Jamestown area. And Donovan's name, of course, came off the top of the building that had been vacant for nearly 10 years.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., confirmed last week that his staff had been working with local veterans' groups  to find an appropriate way to honor Maj. Gen. Donovan  in the wake of the downtown redevelopment. Schumer is pushing the federal government to name a veterans cemetery in Pembroke for Donovan. The initial response, based on the social media, has been negative. Some veterans are staunchly opposed to the lawmaker's suggestion. They'd prefer the expanded burial grounds in Pembroke to be known simply as "Veterans Cemetery," A few of them are upset at the mere thought of a politician (Schumer) trying to put a name on everything. One irate vet even wondered if Schumer would consider naming the illegal immigrant processing center after someone in particular. 

As students of American history know, Donovan is still the only U.S. soldier to receive this nation's most coveted military and civilian honors: The Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal and the National Security Medal.

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