Thousands of veterans, their families and survivors — along with hundreds of active duty members in town for Fleet Week — commemorated Memorial Day today at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
The ceremony includes an unfurling of a 100-foot American flag, a commemorative tossing of a wreath into the Hudson River, plus a flyover by Navy jets.
Mayor de Blasio also returned to the Big Apple for the solemn event after a trip to Nevada, part of his quixotic quest for the presidency and reminded people that Memorial Day is more than hitting the beach and backyard barbecues.
“We never want Memorial Day to be something people see as just another date on the calendar,” he said, “It’s great that families get together, it’s great that there are barbecues, it’s great that we get to go to the beach, but let’s remember why this day is here. This day is to remember our fallen.”
But he also took a partisan shot at how US veterans are being treated during the Trump administration compared to how the Greatest generation was received after WWII.
“I’ll tell you, that WWII generation, at least they came home to the acclaim they deserved. At least they came home to a hero’s welcome. But for later generations, members of our military came home and did not get the respect they deserved,” he said, referring to the Vietnam War but also to wars today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We are not respecting our veterans and we are not taking also care of them and taking care of their families,” he said. “We’re not showing love and honor for their service if we leave them on their own.”
On the Intrepid’s deck, a 19-piece band of US sailors played “America the Beautiful” as they filed in for the ceremony.
Four wreaths were tossed into the Hudson, followed by a 3-volley rifle salute and a flyover by US Navy VFA-213 “The Black Lions” and VFA-37 “The Ragin’ Bulls.”
Helping lay the wreaths were Naval Lt. Jack McCain, son of the late Sen. John McCain, and Commissioner Loree Sutton of the city’s Department of Veteran’s Services.