For Veterans Day & Beyond: A Challenge

For Veterans Day & Beyond: A Challenge

Amidst the pain and division we are feeling in the country, I am grateful for the opportunity of Veterans Day to unify in gratitude to people who have served our country. While there will be much work ahead to defend core American ideals, we honor those who have given their service and their lives for them.

From the Maryland 400, whose 240th anniversary of sacrifice we observed in August, who gave their lives in what Washington called “an hour more precious to liberty than any other,” to the wars of our generation, we owe our veterans our deep gratitude – but also something much more tangible than that.

I’m proud that NYC has established a new Department of Veterans Services, under the leadership of Ret. Brigadier General Loree Sutton.

But we’ve got a lot more to do.

Earlier this fall, I received a challenge from constituent Ellen Simpao -- the #22pushupchallenge to help raise awareness about veteran suicide.

Every day, an average of nearly 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States. That is a staggering figure, and a sign of our failure – to provide jobs, affordable housing, and mental health counseling to those who have served our country.

So every day for the next 22 days, I’ll be doing 22 pushups – so that I’m paying attention to the issue well past Veterans Day – and offering some reflections on what we can do to make sure that the gratitude we are showing today translates into longer-term action.

I hope you’ll join me – today in Carroll Park at 11 a.m. for our annual commemoration ceremony, in the 22 push-up challenge, in raising #VetSuicideAwareness, and in making sure we honor our obligation to do more about it.

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