Place a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking pan in refrigerator until ready to use.
Combine gelatin and 1/4 cup cold water in a small mixing bowl; set aside.
Combine 2 cups sugar, remaining water, syrup, and lemon juice in a small Dutch oven, stirring well. Bring to a boil; boil 5 minutes stirring constantly. Add reserved gelatin mixture, stirring well; cook, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves. Add orange juice and cherries; cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring well. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into chilled baking pan. Let stand overnight at room temperature.
Sift together powdered sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle mixture over counter top or on a baking sheet. Turn candy out onto cornstarch mixture. Cut into 1-inch squares. Roll each piece in cornstarch mixture; let dry on wire racks 1 hour. Store in airtight containers.