Wednesday brought with it a salute to veterans past and present at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on a Veterans Day like no other.
Because of the pandemic, the wreath laying ceremony on the Hudson River was invitation only. While the event was scaled back, the emotion was not.
“Even with a socially distanced event on the Intrepid, with the memorial to honor those who have gone before, it says something,” said U.S. Navy Veteran Jared Lyon. “It says something about who we are as a people and it means a lot.”
The annual Veterans Day Parade, which typically attracts thousands, could not take place this year because of restrictions on large gatherings.
Instead, parade organizers highlighted parade participants virtually on social media.
They also put together a Veterans Day Motorcade, however. In total, 120 vehicles took part in a convoy along parts of the traditional parade route on 5th Avenue to salute the men and women who served and continue to serve our country.
“In the military, regardless of what branch, we just keep on the mission,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Megan Shetka. “Remembering the past, we remember those serving today, and we are working towards the future today. That’s what tradition is all about, regardless of a pandemic.”
In Brooklyn, they honored not only a veteran but a pioneer. One-hundred-year-old Katherine Horton Fernandez joined the Navy in 1944. She was one of the first three African -American women permitted to study at the Bethesda Maryland Medical Center.
And up in the Bronx, special recognition was given for a 90-year-old Korean War veteran. Irving Liebowitz raised the POW-MIA flag at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale.
“It isn't a holiday for a particular person that will be for one day or one week.Veterans are here forever, for however long they live, and even for those who passed on. It's certainly for those who have given all,“ said Liebowitz.
Members of the United War Veterans Council said, despite the pandemic, all veterans deserve to be acknowledged and all Americans deserve to say thank you. New Yorkers seemed to agree.