New York State Funeral Directors Association

A blessing is offered over the remains of 18th Century slaves in St. Agnes Cemetery


They were placed prominently on two tables in the foyer of an historic mansion. It was a building only Colonial-era American aristocracy called home two centuries ago.

Unlike in the days that followed their deaths, the remains of 14 people were treated with respect and honor by the community. They lived and died as slaves in Colonial New York – but they were re-buried as brothers and sisters in the year 2016.

Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall

It’s the biggest tombstone I’ve ever seen – thousands of names on glossy, black granite slabs – all representing siblings, parents, loved ones who never returned home from the Vietnam War.

Each name on the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall represents an American who did what was asked of them.

Most died thousands of miles away from their homeland. Many are still missing.

What do you say to your best friend when his father dies? How do you comfort your cousin who has lost a spouse?

And what words can comfort a parent who has lost their child? These are common thoughts for anyone when trying to decide how to offer sympathies to a grieving family member or friend.

Video: Slaves No More

New York's Capital Region honors, re-buries Colonial-era slaves. Found by accident in an unmarked cemetery, scientists pinpointed their African origin and the community held a wake and funeral.

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SympathyNotes is written to stimulate discussion of death and grief. Opinions do not reflect the views of NYSFDA.

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