This is the body of a letter I sent to Congressman Adam Smith and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. It is the basis of the motion I made at the 7 May General City Council Meeting.
The idea came to me about a month ago after a conversation I had with an old New York friend who had been hospitalized with COVID-19. Unfortunately, one of the nurses taking care of him got the disease and died.
There is a National First Responders Day (NFRD) created by Congress in 2017. NFRD is celebrated on October 28th. However, I would like to suggest two improvements:
- Move the day to the first Monday in April. The symbolism being that this roughly coincides with the ‘peak’ of the COVID-19 outbreak. There is also a practical consideration: it is far enough between two surrounding National Holidays (Washington’s Day and Veterans Day) to make it practical.
- Make it a true National Holiday, with the same legislative effect as Washington’s Day and Memorial Day. This will allow for truly significant remembrance and appreciation to be bestowed on First Responders. The current emergency has demonstrated that they are (and will continue to be) equivalent in importance and honour to the other brave people who protect and defend the nation.
And hopefully, this National Holiday might also have the salutory effect of keeping the idea of ‘readiness’ in the public mind. Sadly, pandemics, disasters and other national emergencies are now an expected part of life and we all should be reflecting on our own preparedness.