YONKERS, NY — November 11, 2021 — Over a hundred years ago today, we as a nation celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. It became a day of reflection and gratitude for all those who have served our nation, and a chance to observe the tremendous sacrifice that our veterans have made to secure peace and prosperity here at home. Veterans Day holds a very special place in my heart.
I am often reminded of my own family members who made that sacrifice. My father, a decorated World War II Veteran, and my brother, who served in Vietnam. Their bravery and selflessness have had a profound effect on my own life, and are a reminder to always put the greater good above all else. Today, I honor the veterans in your life who made similar sacrifices with their fellow Americans in mind.
New York is the proud state of 838,000 veterans. As the Leader of the New York State Senate, and as your representative, I am committed to advancing legislation that will preserve the dignity of our former service members and ensure their peaceful retirement. This year we built on previous reforms by making it easier for veterans and their family members to access scholarships; eased restrictions on civil service appointments and promotions, and reduced barriers to veteran care. These are all important measures that will better protect those who have served. Additionally, I am proud to have secured:
- An additional $1.645 million appropriation through the Division of Veterans’ Affairs, for the New York State Defenders’ Association Veterans’ Defense Prog ram (VDP); Clear Path for Veterans; Helmets to Hardhats; Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of New York.
- An extension of the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Development Program by five years.
- An additional $450,000 for Veterans Mental Health Initiatives.
It’s important for us to say ‘thank you’ to veterans for their service, but the best way to express our gratitude is to fight for a government that protects their rights and ensures them the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Lastly, I ask you to join me in remembering the original significance of Veterans Day–peace at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. As we close out the year, we should all remain hopeful and determined for what can still be accomplished. We can look to the veterans in our own community for guidance, and move forward with their courage in mind. Thank you all for your service, and Happy Veterans Day.
Until next time,