I would like to take this time to salute our nation's active and retired military personnel.
One Hundred years ago, World War I was raging in Europe and the armed forces of the United States would soon plan an important role in defeating Germany and other aggressors. World War I was called "the war to end all wars." Sadly, that was not true and the United States has been involved in conflicts around the globe for the past century -- defending democracy and freedom. We have almost 30,000 veterans in NY-4 and over 800,000 in New York. These brave men and women endure tremendous sacrifice in order to tirelessly protect and defend our great country both here at home, and globally. While we, as a nation, can never thank our service members enough for their sacrifice, we must do everything we can to honor the promises this country has made to them for their courageous service. Throughout history and even during present time, whenever conflict emerges, the world always turns its eye to the United States and its valiant armed forces for support.
The best way we can honor our active and retired service men and women -- for Veterans Day and every day of the year -- is by helping them cut through the red tape of government so they can transition to civilian life in the quickest, safest and healthiest ways possible. That is why I have cosponsored the Veterans Claims Efficiency Through Automation Act, which would reduce the VA claims backlog by transitioning from a largely paper-based claims process to a more digital one. We must also improve access to mental health services. That is why I have cosponsored the Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act, which would eliminate the five-year cap and allow veterans to seek treatment for service-connected mental illnesses, regardless of when their conditions manifest themselves.
Today, we commemorate our nation's soldiers, those who are still serving overseas and those who have served. The work of our active duty and retired military keeps us safe and helps us be the greatest nation in the world. I join my fellow Americans in honoring them today.