From New York to Kansas, honoring nation's veterans
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Flowers and a U.S. Flag are placed in front of a gravestone at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery (Photo Credit: Russell Toof) VIEW ORIGINAL
From New York to Kansas, honoring nation's veterans
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Romann Martin is the director of the Leavenworth National Cemetery. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Spanning 36 acres in the middle of Fort Leavenworth, the Fort Leavenworth Cemetery is the final resting place of 23,000 veterans from every war since the War of 1812. The cemetery is part of the Leavenworth National Cemetery Complex. The person in charge of overseeing its operation is Romann Martin.

“I am the director for all the national cemeteries in and around Kansas City,” said Martin. “I oversee all burial operations, internment operations and community service operations. I have 28 staff members and we handle all questions with anything to do with Veteran Administration burial and internment benefits.”

Originally from Jamacia and raised in New York, Martin has been in the position here since September 2021.

“I started as a temporary caretaker with the Long Island (New York) National Cemetery in 2015,” he said. “From there I transitioned to the Fort Jackson (South Carolina) National Cemetery, then Salisbury National Cemetery (North Carolina) and then finally to here when the director position became available.”

Martin is also currently in the Navy Reserve. He has family who served in the Air Force, Army and Marines. His desire to serve in a civilian capacity comes from an emotional day in the Navy.

“When I was on active duty, I lost one of my best friends in a ship accident,” said Martin. “Ever since then, I’ve been intensely focused on veteran outreach programs. Once I started to help my fellow veterans, I came across the National Cemetery Administration. I started as a temporary caretaker and now I’m a director.”

In 1862, Leavenworth Cemetery was designated as one of the first 14 national cemeteries established across the country. Martin also oversees the Fort Scott National Cemetery in Fort Scott, Kansas, another one of the original 14.

The remains of Brig. Gen. Henry Leavenworth, the fort’s namesake, was disinterred from Woodland Cemetery in Delhi, New York and reinterred in the national cemetery on Memorial Day in 1902.

Captain Thomas W. Custer, brother of George Armstrong Custer who died with his brother at the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, is buried at Fort Leavenworth. He was the first person in history to receive two Medals of Honor and is joined in the cemetery by eight other Medal of Honor recipients and nearly 150 Buffalo Soldiers.

Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 15, 1999.

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