WASHINGTON, DC (September 11, 2018) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, today reflects on the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It’s a day that changed the world. And especially the lives of all in our community who served in the days and years that followed. More than 3 million men and women of our generation have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and other combat locations worldwide since that fateful day.
IAVA asks that Americans take time today to remember those who were lost during the attacks, servicemembers who have been lost while serving overseas, and those first responders who rushed to the sites of the attacks to recover the injured and the dead, and to educate others, and especially their children, about those sacrifices.
There was extreme darkness 17 years ago. But there was also very powerful light. The millions of men and women who have answered the call to serve after that fateful day represent that light in their example, in their work and in their lives every single day.
In this spirit, IAVA has committed since our founding to being a voice for all 9/11 families and first responders. From the fight for Zadroga, to the establishment of memorials nationwide, IAVA veterans and allies get done all we can ensure that we never forget as a nation. Never forgetting also means taking positive action.
To that point, IAVA will continue to be a voice for first-responders suffering from 9/11-related illnesses—many of whom are also veterans. Many of these 9/11 toxin exposure issues mirror what millions of post-9/11 veterans could experience in the years ahead after exposure to burn pits. Burn Pits have have be called our generation’s Agent Orange and are a top priority and among our “Big 6 Advocacy Priorities” for IAVA in 2018. We stand strong now and always with the entire extended 9/11 community for proper recognition, research and support for all related physical and mental health conditions.
Today, IAVA also will recognize the amazing work done by our friends at the National September 11 Memorial in New York City to tell the story of those who were lost and impacted that day and to educate millions of visitors from around the world.
To better empower the National September 11 Memorial to continue this critical and noble mission, IAVA today calls on Congress to immediately pass the 9/11 Memorial Act (H.R. 6287/S. 3167), which establishes grants to help secure the memorial site for its millions of visitors. It was passed unanimously out of committee last week and will be voted on by the full House of Representatives this week. The museum needs it, and deserves it, and so does America.
“All of us remember where we were on September 11, 2001,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq War veteran and first-responder on 9/11. “For our military and veterans, the attacks 17 years ago hold a special place in our memory because it instilled in us a call and passion to serve our country. That one day changed the course of our lives forever. As we reflect on this anniversary each in our own way, we also call on Congress do its part and quickly enact the 9/11 Memorial Act. This national treasure must always be supported now and always. The memorial is sacred ground and a conscience for our country and the world. This important bill is the reinforcements the memorial needs. It will aide the memorial in keeping the memory of that day and the sacrifices that followed alive forever. It is important to our entire country—and especially to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America members wide. Never forgetting means more than words. It means action. We are focused on making this necessary action happen as soon as possible. And call on all Americans to stand with us.”
Note to media: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.