Memorial Day ceremony held at Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City

MANHATTAN (WABC) -- The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum once again hosted an emotional ceremony on Memorial Day honoring our fallen heroes.

"It's great that families get together. It's great there are barbecues, it's great people get to go to the beach," NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told those gathered. "But let's remember why this day is here! This day is to remember our fallen."

It is an annual tradition at the Intrepid to honor those who have died in combat.

Monday's ceremony included the playing of taps, the laying of four wreaths on the Hudson and the unfurling of a 100-foot long American flag.

Guests included the late Sen. John McCain's son, Lt. Jack McCain and Ed Coyne, 95, one of the first crew members on the Intrepid in 1943.

"It's a day of remembrance," said Coyne. "And thank God people are still remembering the ones who lost their lives. It's an honor."

In all, about 250 sailors and pilots on aircraft attached to the Intrepid died in combat in both the Vietnam War and World War II.

The U.S.S. Intrepid was first commissioned in 1943. The aircraft carrier became a museum here on the Hudson in 1982.

Monday's ceremony honored not only those who've passed, but all who have served in the armed forces.

The Navy's number two official urged Americans to please, when you see a vet or an active duty service member, thank them.
"Because gratitude, publicly and strongly professed, is the great motivator for fearless warriors in our armed services," explained Admiral Bill Moran.

After the Vietnam war, veterans were often ridiculed. So for many vets present at the Intrepid Monday, this annual ceremony helps.

"Times have changed," said Vincent Bochicchio, who served in Vietnam. "People look at me, and they see my baseball cap. And it says Vietnam Veteran, and now they say, 'Welcome home!' I appreciate that."

So at the Intrepid this day, it was both a fitting honor for veterans - and a memorial to those who gave all.
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