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Modified: July 30, 2020 8:16am
Created: July 30, 2020 7:47am

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July 30, 2020

Secretary of Interior asked local leaders for nominations to honor distinguished American heroes with memorials and monuments; Comptroller Mychajliw nominates 13 with ties to Erie County


(ERIE COUNTY, NY) – Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia.  Congresswoman and Presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm.  Father of the American cavalry and Revolutionary War Hero General Casimir Pulaski.  Vice-Presidential candidate and Cabinet Secretary Jack Kemp.

These are just some of the Buffalo based heroes nominated by Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to be immortalized in future built memorials and monuments.  The Trump Administration Cabinet member reached out to local government officials seeking nominations for those to be memorialized and for local locations for potential sites for future memorials.

President Donald J. Trump, through an Executive Order, seeks to build and rebuild monuments honoring American heroes.  The President wants to create a “National Garden of American Heroes,” that would honor political leaders, war heroes and those that represent American ingenuity.  President Trump’s Executive Order comes after numerous monuments and statues across the country, including some in Buffalo, were toppled, destroyed, defaced, or damaged during recent riots.

“It’s disgraceful and despicable that this cancel culture exists where people have no respect for our great history.  These unruly rioters and radical progressives despise America.  Their hateful mission is to destroy our great nation and our history rather than celebrate and learn from it,” said Comptroller Mychajliw.  “I appreciate the President’s efforts to preserve our American history and its heroes.  Erie County has made tremendous sacrifices in the name of freedom.   Many people from our area made great contributions that have helped make America the greatest country on earth.  I was proud to share with the President stories of heroes with strong ties to Western New York.”

Comptroller Mychajliw wrote about monuments honoring presidents and other political leaders with ties to Western New York; about those who worked tirelessly to break the color barriers and heal the racial divide in our country; he wrote of military leaders and every day soldiers who risked their lives, and scientists, authors, inventors, entertainers and business leaders whose contributions we still celebrate and benefit from today.  Comptroller Mychajliw’s list of nominees to the President of the United States include:

Medal of Honor Recipient David Bellavia: the first living Medal of Honor recipient from the Iraq War, is from Western New York.  President Donald Trump awarded him with the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony in 2019.

Former Congressman, Cabinet Secretary and Vice-Presidential candidate Jack Kemp:  Buffalo Bills quarterback of the 1960s, former Secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Kemp was a champion of supply side economics, an early advocate of immigration reform, and was known to have a strong and positive influence on President Ronald Reagan.

Polish General and Revolutionary War Hero Casimir Pulaski:  Considered the father of the American Calvary, the Casimir Pulaski Monument here once had the distinction as the world’s largest monolithic bronze casting at the time of its creation in 1979.  He is honored annually with the Pulaski Day parade. 

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Urban (Urbanowicz): one of World War II’s most decorated soldiers, a monument to him is located on the grounds of the Rath building, which serves as Erie County’s primary government headquarters.

Shirley Chisholm: the first African American woman elected to Congress, first African American woman to run for President of the United States for a major party, retired to Western New York and is buried here.

William (Wild Bill) Donovan: Medal of Honor recipient and instrumental in the creation of the CIA.

United States President Grover Cleveland: 22nd and 24th U.S. President Grover Cleveland, once served as Buffalo mayor and Erie County Sheriff.  A statue of him stands outside the entrance of Buffalo City Hall.

United States President Millard Fillmore: 13th U.S. President who began his political career in Buffalo and was an opponent of slavery.

Billy Wilson: More recently a park in Amherst, New York has been named for this hero that paid the ultimate price defending freedom, a local soldier that was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

Mark Rademacher: Sergeant that was honored with the naming of Rademacher Memorial Park in Wales, who was killed in the Grenada Invasion in November 1983.

Nobel Laureate Herbert Hauptman:  Awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1985. His innovative, mathematical research methods and study of crystallization helps research scientists establish drugs to cure numerous diseases.

Dr. Roswell Park:  Founded a cancer research hospital in 1898 that still serves cancer patients, a health care facility that now bears his name. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald: one of the most prolific American writers and author of such memorable novels as “The Great Gatsby,” spent his childhood in Buffalo.  Fitzgerald was named after a cousin, Francis Scott Key, who penned the lyrics to what became the American national anthem.

Secretary of the Interior Bernhardt also asked for information about existing monuments and memorials across Erie County, In his correspondence, Comptroller Mychajliw mentioned the Naval and Military park, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, Forest Lawn Cemetery, the Veterans Tribute in North Collins and the Michigan Street Baptist Church

 The American story must be told, not torn down.  I applaud these efforts.  We have a rich history in Erie County of heroes that made America the greatest country on earth,” concluded Comptroller Mychajliw.

 For pdf of letter, click HERE

For pdf of release, click HERE