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Congress members introduce bill to make National First Responders Day a federal holiday

The bill would make Oct. 28 the nation’s 11th legal public holiday


U.S. Reps. Bobby L. Rush and Ralph Norman have introduced a bill that would establish National First Responders Day, Oct. 28, as an official federal holiday.

Photo/United States Congressman Bobby L. Rush

By Laura French

WASHINGTON — Two U.S. representatives have introduced a bill that would make National First Responders Day, Oct. 28, a federal holiday.

Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) introduced the legislation last week, which would add National First Responders Day to the list of legal public holidays officially observed by the federal government and its employees each year, according to a press release. There are currently 10 holidays on that list, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made the importance of the contributions our first responders make in every community across the United States clearer than ever. Whether that crucial work involves extinguishing potentially deadly fires, keeping our streets safe, or delivering urgent and lifesaving medical services, first responders are there when Americans need them,” Rush said in a statement. “Every day, our first responders selflessly serve their communities, often at great personal cost. While we can never fully repay first responders for the critical work that they do each day, a Federal holiday in their honor is one small way that we can demonstrate our gratitude.”

Oct. 28 was first designated as National First Responders Day by Congress in a resolution in 2017, recognizing it as a day to honor first responders and promote awareness of the contributions of first responders to the nation. The new legislation would further establish it as an official holiday under federal rules.

“My support for first responders is unwavering. The heroism firefighters, police officers, and paramedics show has never been clearer than it is right now. The Coronavirus has tested us all, and local first responders everywhere have continuously stepped up to protect their communities. I am proud to introduce this legislation to help recognize these incredible men and women,” Norman said in a statement.