FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 11, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG HONORS BRAVERY AND SACRIFICES OF NEW YORK VETERANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted a breakfast at Gracie Mansion in honor of the bravery and sacrifices of veterans and members of the Armed Services. Following the breakfast, the Mayor marched in this year’s Veterans Day Parade. The parade, celebrating its 90th Anniversary honors the New York City uniformed personnel and public servants who have served in the United States military, as well as the veterans community that provides assistance to the veterans of New York. The Mayor also announced that the commissioning date for the USS New York has been set for November 7, 2009 at Pier 86 in the New York harbor. The Mayor was joined by New York City veterans and service members including Adjutant General of New York State Major General Joseph Taluto, US Navy Chaplain Ronald Wells, Parade Grand Marshals Army Command Sergeant Major Sylvia Laughlin, Army Colonel Stephen Smith, State Division of Veterans Affairs Director James McDonough, and Vice President of Dealer Operations for U-Haul International Layton Baker along with USS New York Commanding Officer Curt Jones, USS New York Commissioning Committee Co-Chairman Rear Admiral Robert Ravitz and Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Roger Newman.
“New Yorkers will never forget the courage and sacrifice of all the men and women who have served our country, and the USS New York is going to be another powerful symbol of the deeply personal connection that New Yorkers have to the fight our military is now engaged in,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We will continue to support our veterans and services members by doing all we can to make this city and nation better – because that’s what they fought for, and that’s what so many died for.”
“On Veterans Day, New Yorkers take time to reflect and show our appreciation for the men and women in our Armed Services who have fought admirably to safeguard our freedoms,” said Veterans Affairs Commissioner Newman. “We honor their services by working hard every day to ensure veterans and service members have increased access to the benefits and services they need when we welcome them home.”
At this morning’s breakfast the Mayor announced that the USS New York, currently completing construction in Louisiana, is expected to make its official entrance into the U.S. Navy fleet on November 7, 2009 at a commissioning ceremony in New York City. The ship, named for the State of New York, has approximately 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the ruins of the World Trade Center forged into its bow. The 25,000-ton ship, which is the newest addition to the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force, will be used to transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies. The USS New York was christened in March 2008 in Avondale, Louisiana.
Currently, there are approximately 240,000 veterans and 8,000 reservists, active duty and National Guard members living in the five boroughs. Since September 11, 2001, 82 New York City residents have lost their lives in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Mayor Bloomberg also attended the Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park, which commemorated the historic signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918 that officially ended World War I. Mayor Bloomberg placed a wreath at the base of the monument, followed by a 21-Gun salute and the playing of Taps. The ceremony honored veterans who gave their lives in support of the nation.
Today’s breakfast was sponsored by Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO).
Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958