Remembering fallen heroes is the reason behind Memorial Day, and it was the message at the annual ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Monday.
Bob Cassara was one of a handful of former Intrepid crew members in attendance.
"All the lives that were lost in crazy wars, I mean, war is nothing to be proud of as human beings," he said.
With a wreath laying and flag unfurling, the solemn ceremony honors all those who sacrificed their lives, including the 250 men who died while serving aboard the former aircraft carrier. This year is also meant to remember the more than 150 former Intrepid crewmembers who lost their lives over the past year, many to COVID-19.
"All of us as Americans, as New Yorkers, we did persevere. We found something inside ourselves. Let's find it now, as we bind our nation together again. Let's find the unity we found in those moments fighting COVID shoulder to shoulder, take it forward, create something better. We want to honor the ones we lost. Let's create something as good as them, a place of hope and unity again," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Last year’s ceremony was held virtually, as the museum was closed due to the pandemic. However, connecting with former crew members was still important for Cassara.
"We actually had Zoom calls every week during COVID, so now, to see them all here in person is nice," he said.
Now, veterans and current service members sat socially distanced and masked. The event was still live streamed, though, and closed to the public.
The museum itself is open for visitors, who were glad to learn about its history on this day of remembrance.
"We’re really excited to see the Intrepid and to honor all the fallen soldiers both of the Intrepid and all the Armed Forces worldwide," said Jen Blik, an Intrepid visitor.
Other remembrance events were held across the five boroughs as well to remind people that Memorial Day is more than just a day off.