New York - Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsman honored veterans during a Memorial Day observance at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Riverside Park as part of Fleet Week New York, today.
The observance included performances by Navy Band Northeast, New York Scottish Pipes and Drums; a wreath-laying ceremony; and remarks from Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), Ray Mabus; New York City Attorney Gen. Eric T. Schneiderman; Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer; Rear Adm. Linda Fagan, commander, 1st Coast Guard District; and noted military historian David J. Ulbrich, Ph.D.
"Today, we are here to honor those serving, our veterans and the families of those who did not come home," said Mabus. "We have the best Sailors and Marines we've ever had, and they walk in the footsteps of the generations before us."
"We need to remember those that were willing to give everything for us and the families that they left behind," he continued. "This unique country has always been able to count - at the times of greatest crisis - on its best people stepping forward, willing to risk and lose life and limb for the idea of this great country."
Schneiderman also spoke on the sacrifice of those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces.
"As the people's lawyer, I recognize that the people of New York owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women that serve us," he said. "We have to do everything we can to support and protect those who support and protect us."
The ceremony paid special tribute to veterans who fought during WWI, WWII and the Korean War.
"Our service members protect us in ways that are unimaginable," said Schneiderman. "I honor the families of those who will never return and I hope in the years ahead we can return Memorial Day to a true day of remembrance and reflection for these times."
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument stands above the Hudson River in Riverside Park. Although more than 100,000 New Yorkers served in the Civil War, there are no hallowed battlegrounds in Manhattan to speak of their deeds and sacrifice. The Soldiers' and Sailors' monument was created in homage to those who served and gave their lives to protect the Union.
During the solemn ceremony, 23 veterans, heritage and patriotic organizations laid wreaths at the Monument, including American Legion, Navy League, Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the Revolution, Jewish War Veterans, and Montford Point Marines.
In closing, Mabus encouraged the people in attendance to reach out and get to know the military members who are flooding the city streets during Fleet Week.
"Fleet Week gives us a chance to connect the people who are doing the protecting to the people who are being protected," he said. "These men and women are the true 1 percent that protects the other 99 percent of us."
Fleet Week New York, now in its 27th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. The weeklong celebration is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.