May 28, 2022, Elise Stefanik

SCHUYLERVILLE — Our nation has an incredible tradition of service, which residents of New York’s 21st Congressional District proudly share.

From the battles of Saratoga and Ticonderoga that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War to the home to Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, the most deployed U.S. Army division since 9/11, our region has an enduring legacy of brave Americans who have selflessly answered the call to serve for generations. As we gather with friends and family on Memorial Day, we honor our men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

As we honor our heroes, we must honor and remember that Memorial Day brings back the feelings of experiencing tremendous loss for friends, families, colleagues and teammates. This day is not only about reflecting on the past.

It is also a reminder to renew our commitment to those who have served and are serving our nation. As a senior member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and the chief advocate in Congress for Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, I work daily to bring the concerns of our servicemembers and military families to the highest levels and strengthen our nation’s military.

This Memorial Day, my thoughts are especially with our Gold Star families, who have made extraordinary sacrifices as their loved ones laid down their lives for the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our freedom. They are deserving of our enduring support, and I am proud to have introduced bipartisan legislation to provide for our Gold Star spouses who have experienced the unimaginable loss of a loved one in service to our country.

The Gold Star Spouses Non-Monetary Benefits Act would allow Gold Star spouses who have remarried to keep their non-monetary survivor benefits. Following the devastating loss of their loved ones, Gold Star spouses should not be forced to endure further hardships as they attempt to rebuild their lives. This bill seeks to change that and will continue to honor our military families and support them through the tragic loss of their loved ones.

Those who served along our fallen heroes are also in my thoughts today as they remember their colleagues and fellow warriors. As we remember this Memorial Day, so many of our veterans are reminded of whom they have lost, and many face unique challenges brought on by their service. Unfortunately, those challenges often manifest as mental health issues.

This is why I continue to work diligently in Congress to promote mental health and pass legislation to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness in the military and for our veterans. I also have compiled a comprehensive list of resources below that are readily available to assist any servicemember, veteran or family member who may need help.

Because of their incredible sacrifice to protect our nation, I am committed to making sure they have access to the resources they need. I remain committed to championing access to mental health services for our veterans, servicemembers and military families.

This Memorial Day weekend, join me at local community events to honor those who have laid down their lives for our freedom; pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation; support our veterans and military families; and continue to pray for those who serve in harm’s way. We must never forget that America is only the land of the free because of the brave.

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