De Blasio honors fallen US military members at the Intrepid
Thousands of veterans, their families and survivors — along with hundreds of active-duty members in town for Fleet Week — commemorated Memorial Day Monday during a solemn ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
The 31st annual ceremony on the former aircraft carrier, moored at Pier 86 in the Hudson River, featured the unfurling of a 100-foot American flag, a Navy band playing “God Bless America” and a flyover by Navy fighter jets.
Service members, including Navy Lt. Jack McCain, son of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, tossed four wreaths into the Hudson, one for US military lost in current conflicts, one for those lost in previous wars, one for US allies and one for former crew members of the Intrepid.
Adm. Bill Moran, vice chief of naval operations, talked about Shannon Kent, a Navy cryptologist who was killed in an ISIS suicide attack at a kebab restaurant in Syria earlier this year.
“Shannon was a New Yorker,” he said, referring to the chief petty officer from Pine Plains, whose husband was a 20-year veteran of the Green Berets.
“When you hear her story or look at the images of her in tactical gear, in combat zone, with her Yankees cap on, you’d be proud to claim her as your own. I have to believe that the heroic sacrifices of Americans like Shannon Kent is never lost,” he said about the fallen mother of two.
Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio returned to the Big Apple for the event after a presidential campaign trip to Nevada, and reminded people that Memorial Day is about more than fun in the sun.
“This day is to remember our fallen,” he said.
Vets and their families also emphasized the importance of the day.
“This is a day we mourn and grieve for all that gave their lives for a greater good,” said Marine and Vietnam vet George Arnone, 74, of The Bronx.
“To those who think it’s a day to barbecue, that’s OK. But take a little time to think about the sacrifice.”
Bay Ridge held its 152nd annual Memorial Day parade — one of the country’s oldest.
Cheering spectators lined Third Avenue waving small American flags as a giant star-spangled Banner was unfurled in the street.
“It reminds us that our day at the beach reminds us of the sacrifices they made on their beaches. We honor the war dead and their sacrifices,” Kathleen Fierro, 60, said.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Vice President Mike Pence laid the traditional wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and praised those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as the loved ones they left behind.
“Today on Memorial Day we honor Americans who showed no greater love for the American people,” the veep said, filling in for President Trump, who was in Japan meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“We can never repay the debt of gratitude to the men and women we owe to those who have given their all to preserve our freedom, but we can honor them, remember them, cherish their families and this we will do,” said Pence.
Pence, like Trump never served in the military, although his son Michael is a first lieutenant and pilot in the Marines.
For survivors of the fallen, Pence added, “Every day is Memorial Day.”