City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney met at City Hall last Friday to honor U.S. Army Captains Tejdeep Singh Rattan and Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, the first Sikh Americans in more than two decades to serve in the U.S. Army on active duty while keeping their beards, turbans and other outward signs of their religious faith.
Joining Quinn and Maloney at the event were several councilmembers, including Daniel Dromm (D–Jackson Heights) and Mark Weprin (D–Hollis).
Rattan recently graduated from the U.S. Army Officer Course and Kalsi will begin training this summer. Defense Secretary Robert Gates granted accommodations to both after appeals from Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) and other members of the New York City Congressional delegation.
“The council takes special pride in recognizing the men and women who serve in our country’s armed forces, and Captains Rattan and Kalsi are no exceptions,” Quinn said. “They exemplify how it is possible to serve our country without compromising religious custom. We are delighted to take part in this important moment, one that is 25 years in the making. We join the Sikh community in celebrating this significant achievement.”