AOC, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and a slate of candidates running to succeed him paid tribute to fallen soldiers and veterans across the five boroughs on Monday.
“It’s so important that, every single Memorial Day, we show that these are not just half sacrifices … [and] that we honor those who in our community who just not sacrificed their lives, but also the families, the parents, the children, all of those who lived with that sacrifice,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told reporters at an event in Woodside, where the congresswoman observed a Vietnam War vet lay a wreath by an American flag with a small group.
De Blasio, during his last Memorial Day as mayor, made rare remarks about his father, who served in the military during World War II and committed suicide when the second-term Democrat was 18 years old.
“When I’m here, the moment gets very personal for me,” de Blasio said at the Intrepid Museum Memorial Day ceremony.
“While this great ship was in the waters off Leyte Gulf and off Okinawa during World War II, my dad was on the ground with so many other good men, fighting extraordinary battles, doing everything they could to protect our comrades in arms, to win a victory for freedom and come home alive.”
“Although he bore the scars both physical and emotional, at least he was there,” the mayor went on at the solemn event. “But I could see for him there was something, a hollowness, because he couldn’t get out of his mind his comrades in arms who didn’t come home.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a top contender in the race to replace de Blasio, remembered his uncle who died during the Vietnam War, ahead of his participation in a parade on Staten Island.
“This is more than just … a cookout, more than just going to the beach. It’s about honoring the men and women who have served in our service,” said Adams outside Silver Lake Park.
“It is so important that we recognize those who have watered the tree of freedom with their blood throughout the years.”
Also Monday, mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, who attended a wreath-laying ceremony in Douglaston, said his immigrant family is “forever indebted” to people who died fighting for the United States.
“My thoughts are with the loved ones of our fallen heroes,” the 46-year-old former presidential contender said in a tweet.
“As the son of immigrants who came here for a better life, my family is forever indebted to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
Meanwhile, Kathryn Garcia released her plan to aid the Big Apple’s veterans, after The Post reported Thursday on Yang’s ideas to help former service members suffering from PTSD.
Garcia’s blueprint includes extending eligibility for property tax exemptions for vets, strengthening enforcement of laws on the books that bar housing discrimination against former service members and bolstering the program that seeks to place veterans in jobs with the city’s fire department.
“This Memorial Day, we honor those who sacrificed their lives serving our country, and we recommit to caring for their families and loved ones who have sacrificed as much,” Garcia said in a statement.
“This Memorial Day, we must finally step up to serve our veterans the way that they have selflessly served each of us.”
On Staten Island while flanked by endorser Sen. Dianne Savino, Adams spoke about his plan to help more veterans by deploying more on-the-ground assistance and a “Universal Mindfulness Meditation program” to help with former service members experiencing PTSD.
“We’re going to partner with nonprofits and city entities to go on the ground and meet our veterans where they are,” said Adams. “Far too often we expect our veterans and those who need services to go into a governmental agency and building, I don’t believe that. I believe in deploying teams.”
“We’re going to have that form of deployment, as we go out and find veterans where they are.”