The Big Apple honored on Memorial Day those in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice during a reverent celebration at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Sailors, soldiers and other members of the Armed Forces gathered together at Pier 86 on West 46th Street and 12th Avenue on May 29 to honor all those who had come before them. This included the individuals who once served aboard the Intrepid in decades past in pursuit of what they call the altar of freedom.
Gene Austin served as an electronics radio repairman on the Intrepid from 1961-1964 and sat front row for the ceremony along with other Navy veterans who served on the ship.
Austin told amNewYork Metro that he wants people to remember that the holiday is not a kickoff to summer, but rather a mournful day dedicated to the fallen.
“It’s not a celebration; it’s an honoring of those who have passed away for the country so that we have the country that we have today,” Austin said.
Austin visits the Intrepid Museum several times a year, to remember his service and those who continue to serve.
“It’s just the honor of honoring those that have given us the freedoms that we have,” Austin added.
Families also assembled on and near the Intrepid to pay their respects — from lovers who held hands amidst the fluttering flags, to young children who donned military caps and clutched aircraft toys.
Hundreds sat and listened to speakers, including Mayor Eric Adams who championed the men and women of the armed forces.
“I know the men and women who wear the uniform are not only wearing the gesture of material, they are wearing the armor of peace. Something that we all enjoy. We have a good product,” the mayor said. “That is why everyone wants to come here and no one wants to leave here because we stand for what is great about humanitarian aspects all over this globe. This is a great country. Don’t let anyone fool you to believe that it is not.”
The mayor joined fellow dignitaries by throwing a wreath into the Hudson River before a gigantic star-Spangled Banner was unfurled.