Guest Opinion / Memorial Day 2024: Our Deepest Thanks to All Those Who Serve

May 24,2024: NYC Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Dept. of Veterans’ Services Commissioner James W. Hendon (on the right, shaking hands) announce plans to build a new memorial honoring the 99 fallen post-9/11 service members. | Photo via

BY NYC MAYOR ERIC ADAMS | Every year, we are proud to welcome our nation’s sea servicemembers to New York City for Fleet Week, a celebration of the courage and commitment of all those who serve our nation — and those who have given their lives to protect it.

As a patriotic American and proud mayor, I want to extend my personal welcome to each and every servicemember joining us for the longstanding Memorial Day Weekend tradition.

Fleet Week (May 22-28) is much more than just the official start of summer in New York. It is our city’s way of saying thank you to members of the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard for their courage and commitment to serving our nation. It is because of your work and your sacrifices that we are able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of this nation, free to live our lives and uphold our values.

New York City is proud to be the first municipality in the country with a stand-alone agency dedicated to serving veterans and their families. We cannot thank them enough, and for those who have left us, we can never forget.

As a major port city and a symbol of freedom around the globe, New York City will always stand up and salute those who defend our nation and our values. And as a city that was attacked by foreign enemies on 9/11, we bear a special responsibility to honor those who gave their lives in the conflicts that followed.

That is why we are proud to announce plans to build a new memorial honoring the 99 fallen post-9/11 servicemembers from New York City. The memorial will be built on the waterfront in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens, the borough home to the largest number of post-9/11 servicemembers who were killed in action. The memorial will honor a new generation of souls who lost their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have served our country in these wars.

I often think about servicemembers like my Uncle Joe, who lost his life in Vietnam at the age of 19. He was a patriot, a young man who was willing to serve his country, no matter who was president because he cared about our country. And it breaks my heart when I see a poll that says 52 percent of Americans would not defend this country if it was attacked by foreign enemies.

I want every New Yorker to know:  I’m one of the 48 percenters. And I know that when it comes down to it, New Yorkers would give their all for this city and their fellow New Yorkers. I saw it on 9/11, when strangers rushed to help each other, and I see it now, when people stand together against hate and division.

This Memorial Day, let us remember all the Uncle Joes in our families, the ones that lived their values and served proudly. Let us re-ignite the American spirit in ourselves and each other — and share those values with the next generation. Patriotism is more than just love of country. It is an act of defiant optimism, a commitment to building a more just and equitable future together.

This is the greatest city in the greatest country in the world, and we should be proud to uphold the values of democracy and freedom.

Once again, my deepest thanks to all those who serve.

I want every single servicemember here for Fleet Week to enjoy their time with us, and I hope all New Yorkers will join me in welcoming you to our city and saluting your service.

Thank you for all you do for our country, and may God continue to bless New York and the United States of America.


To visit the Office of the Mayor of New York City online, click here.

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