Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor following the passage of legislation to mark Tony Bennett’s birthday as “Tony Bennett Day,” to honor his legacy. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
I am really proud today that my resolution declaring Tony Bennett’s birthday, August 3rd, as “Tony Bennett Day” has just passed the Senate.
I’d like to thank Senator Cornyn for joining me in this bipartisan resolution, as well as Speaker Emerita Pelosi for working on a companion resolution in the House.
As we all know, we all love Tony Bennett. Tony is an American icon, a son of Astoria, Queens – a New Yorker through and through – and without a doubt one of the most beloved singers of our time.
You only come across a Tony Bennett once in a lifetime.
I’d like to think Frank Sinatra got it right when he called Tony Bennett “the best singer in the business.”
Known for his unparalleled talent, his exceptional vocal range, Tony spanned generations and genres, he touched the hearts of millions around the world.
It didn’t matter if you were young or old or somewhere in between, it didn’t matter if you were a friend or a fan, just about everyone loved Tony – and Tony loved just about everyone.
And you could feel that he was in it for the right reasons – not for the money, or the fame, but he just loved making music and having people enjoy it. Just to hear him sing a few bars, you knew he cared about the song, and he wanted to share that caring with everybody and he cared about you as he sang it to you, just about more than anything.
And, let’s not forget, as great a musician as Tony was, he was a very good human being.
He fought, he served our country admirably during World War II.
This always amazed me. He was a lifelong champion of civil rights and marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma in 1965, at a time when the agents of most entertainers discouraged them from marching in these kinds of things because they might lose some fans. But Tony didn’t care, he believed in equality.
And he raised money for great causes, including
for the very disease he was fighting, Alzheimer’s.
And if that still wasn’t enough, he was an accomplished painter, and he drew his inspiration from his little bench in Central Park.
So, Tony Bennett’s legacy will live on in the hearts of fans, friends, and the countless artists he inspired along the way.
I am proud that we could come together to pass this resolution honoring an extraordinary man and his immeasurable contributions to the arts and our society.