Veterans In Congress Wash Vietnam War Wall For Memorial Day
People visit the Vietnam War Memorial at the National Mall ahead of Memorial Day in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2024. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May and it commemorates those soldiers who have died for their country. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Several veterans currently serving in Congress — from both sides of the aisle — joined together to wash the Vietnam War Memorial ahead of the Memorial Day holiday honoring fallen service-members.

CBS News’ “Face the Nation” shared video of the project on Sunday, showing several members of Congress who served in different branches of the military as they hand-washed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

“Democrat, Republican, black, white, brown, none of that matters,” Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) said. “It just matters that we’re all Americans.”

Waltz and Rep. Pat Ryan (D-NY) also spoke with “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan about the “divide” between the 99% of Americans who have never served in the military and the 1% who have. Calling that chasm “deeply problematic as a democracy,” they told Brennan that they have been working together to find better ways to recruit more young Americans to serve.

Waltz suggested that especially in light of President Joe Biden’s recent unilateral moves to cancel student debt, perhaps some sort of civil or military service could be expected of those whose debts were forgiven.

Service doesn’t just have to be in the military. People here are talking about just giving away college or just eliminating debt. Well, how about the American taxpayer gets something in exchange for that in terms of service?” he said.

Waltz and Ryan are also working together to combat the very real problem of suicide among military veterans, saying that the federal government needed to be ready to do more. “We don’t have the urgency. It needs to be a problem that every American recognizes as theirs,” Ryan said.

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