Above: Gottheimer delivers remarks to veterans at the Fair Lawn Veterans Day Ceremony
FAIR LAWN, NJ — Today, November 11, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) honored Veterans Day and all those who have served and sacrificed for our nation, delivered remarks at the Fair Lawn Veterans Day Ceremony, and advocated for better care for North Jersey’s veterans.
Gottheimer spoke alongside VFW Post 281 Commander David Boone and Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso.
“There is nothing more important in this job than my responsibility to always have the backs of those who have stepped forward to protect us. To all veterans and active-duty service members, know this, after sacrificing and struggling for so much, you should never struggle to get the care or recognition you so rightfully deserve.” Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) said today. “These are not Democrat or Republican issues – they are principles of the nation we live in, the one you protect. I’ve been proud to work across the aisle in Congress on ways to improve veterans’ benefits and care. Of course, our fight for our democracy and our veterans is far from over, there is much more to be done, and I will never stop fighting for our veterans.”
Gottheimer has helped lead several initiatives to fight for North Jersey’s veterans:
- Gottheimer is working with New Jersey’s VA Director to lower wait times and drive times for veterans; boost access to closer doctors, hospitals, and other facilities; create a female veteran-focused clinic in New Jersey; and increase mental health care access in Newton and Bergen.
- The House passed Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation to invest in filling the more than 49,000 vacant positions at the VA.
- The House passed Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation to increase investment for the Veterans Health Administration to specifically hire more mental health professionals.
- Gottheimer cosponsored and helped pass H.R.1448 – the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act, to create a new program at the VA to train and match service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD.
- Gottheimer cosponored and helped pass H.R. 299 – the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, on a 410 to zero vote, to extend disability benefits covering medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure to those who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam, known as “Blue Water” Navy veterans. This bill was signed into law.
- Gottheimer cosponsored the Congressional Gold Medal for Service Members killed in the Abbey Gate Bombing in at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan on August 26,2021 Act (H.R.5142)
- Gottheimer cosponsored the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (H.R.1123) to require the VA to review the deaths of veterans who died by suicide while under VA care in order to improve mental health care for our most vulnerable veterans. Congressman Gottheimer cosponsored the United States-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act (H.R.852) to establish a grant program to form a US-Israel joint collaboration in efforts to better study and understand PTSD.
Watch today’s ceremony here.
Below: Gottheimer Speaking with Veterans at the Fair Lawn Veterans Day Memorial.
Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Thank you to everyone for being here as we honor the brave men and women who have proudly served and protected our nation. To all our service members, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for putting your life on the line to defend our freedom, our families, and the greatest democracy the world has ever seen.
There is nothing more important in this job than my responsibility to have the backs of those who have served our great country.
To all veterans and active-duty service members, know this, after sacrificing so much, you should never struggle to get the care or recognition you have earned. These are not Democratic or Republican issues — they are principles of the country we live in, the one you protected. The oldest living democracy in the world.
I’ve been proud to work across the aisle in Congress to care and protect our veterans. Of course, our fight for our democracy and our veterans is far from over and I will never stop fighting for you. Whether that’s at the VA, a mental health issue, or helping a veteran get a job when you come back home.
When we see a veteran, or a first responder, we should always thank them for their service — and ask our children to do the same. For what they did to allow our businesses and families to prosper, to practice the religion we choose, to speak out freely on the street corner. They deserve our respect and gratitude. Of course we should remember today and every day, the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice.
When you stand with and get to know our veterans, and hear their stories, you get a better understanding of what they have sacrificed to protect our nation. You see, the battlefield doesn’t require allegiance to party. It demands allegiance to country, to fundamental values, to the thirteen stripes and fifty stars.
For me, in my capacity as your Congressman, it’s an honor and privilege to be able to thank so many veterans across the Fifth District for their service.
It is our duty as Americans not only to honor these men and women — all soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen and women — but to do everything we can to fight for them when they return, to ensure they and their families have the care they need, the benefits they were promised, and the support we all owe them.
I want to impress upon everyone here that my door is always open for any issues that you may have.
So, on this Veterans Day, I honor you and I thank you for everything that you have done, because here in the greatest country in the world, we will always take care of our own. That’s the only way to ensure that our best days will always be ahead of us.
God bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.