We Owe Our Way of Life to Our Veterans

November 16, 2019

America’s veterans embody our nation’s spirit of service and sacrifice to protect our way of life. Their dedication to country, community and our fellow Americans represents the best expression of our ideals and our shared values. Whether a brother, sister, parent, grandparent, cousin, friend or neighbor, they are the heroes among us.

Veterans Day is a revered holiday in the United States of America because it calls on us to come together to honor and reflect the incredible sacrifice our servicemembers and their families make to protect our way of life.

Last weekend, and in the two weeks leading up to Veterans Day this year, our Capital Region was host to a number of wonderful events to recognize and herald the example set by our service members. I had the honor of participating in several of these events:

  • On November 7th, we served breakfast to some of the 300 servicemembers in attendance at the “Honor and Serve” event in Scotia, NY.
  • Gave brief remarks last Friday at a ceremony honoring the military and public service of Thomas G. Fitzgerald, who served in the Vietnam War and, after being honorably discharged, was hired by the U.S. Postal Service where he continues to work to this day.
  • On Saturday, November 9th, I had the pleasure of attending a breakfast at the Sons of Italy in America Gabriele D'Annuzio Lodge 321, Schenectady. Before the breakfast, a ceremony was held outside the Lodge to unveil a memorial dedicated to all who have served.
  • Later that day, I spoke at the 5th Annual Veterans Celebration held by the Southern Saratoga YMCA Veterans Committee, paying homage to the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge this year.
  • On the morning of Sunday, November 10th, I joined those in attendance for the 21st Annual Veterans Day Breakfast held by Rensselaer County Unified Family Services Veterans Service Agency.
  • That day I also had the privilege of joining a Veterans Day Brunch to give remarks honoring the service of Chaplain Donald L. Rutherford, a priest of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Watervliet.
  • My Sunday ended with the Glenville Seniors Veterans Day Celebration.
  • For Veterans Day, I joined a breakfast celebration for the veterans residing at our Sgt. Henry Johnson Vet house.
  • Soon after, on a cold morning, I was honored to speak at the USS Slater Volunteers of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum Annual Veterans Day Commemoration.
  • That afternoon, I joined Mayor Kathy Sheehan at the Gold Star Family Luncheon.

These events are more than just an opportunity to recognize our veterans for their service and sacrifice. They are my chance to say thank you. We owe our way of life to these brave men and women. They remind us each and every day that our communities and country become a better and brighter place when we work to serve others.

Sadly, despite our vigilant efforts to strengthen federal services for our veterans, too many still fall between the cracks. One of the most vital constituent services our office provides are veterans’ services, including helping ensure their access to the benefits they have earned, replacing lost medals or ensuring deserved medals are awarded, and much more. We have a duty to be there for our veterans, and fulfill our commitments to them just as they fulfilled their commitment to our country. This is the least we can do.

To those who have served, those who continue to serve and to their families who have stood with them every step of the way, thank you. No words can express the gratitude we feel for your sacrifice to our country, and no thanks is enough to repay the debt that we owe you.

As always, thank you for reading.

Your friend,