By Carla Zanoni and Amy Zimmer
MANHATTAN — While many New Yorkers flocked to barbecues and beaches, several solemn Memorial Day events in Manhattan on Monday paid tribute to those who had fallen in wars.
At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the annual wreath laying ceremony was accompanied by the unfurling of a hundred-foot American flag and an aerial salute of military aircraft called the missing man formation.
Up in Inwood, the Memorial Day Parade, the longest standing in the city, drew a large crowd of families, children and veterans who watched as the procession filed from Broadway and Dyckman Street to Inwood Hill Park.
Local school marching bands and children from the Inwood Little League marched along with members of the armed forces.
"Today is the day we give thanks to those who sacrificed themselves for the good of this country," said state assemblyman Guillermo Linares during a wreath laying ceremony following the Inwood parade. "We cannot forget them."
His colleague in Albany, state senator Adriano Espaillat, echoed the sentiment, adding thoughts for those currently in combat.
"I want us to keep all of our young men and women who are fighting overseas to keep us free in our mind and give thanks," he said.
Other events commemorating the day included Central Park Conservancy's walking tour exploring how different generations of New Yorkers used Central Park as a place to remember their veterans.
"This is a day when we remember the fallen, those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our country," said Thomas Hoare, commander of the American Legion Inwood Post #581 and Inwood parade organizer.
Petty Officer Second Class James Alcorn, 35, from Cincinnati, Ohio said being in New York for Memorial Day is always meaningful, but he felt it even more so since he's serving aboard the USS New York warship.
It was named for the city after the Sept. 11 attacks when it was used to move 24 tons of wreckage from Ground Zero, which were then melted down and constructed into a seven-and-a-half ton beam that is now part of the ships bow.
"It's a great honor to meet veterans, to sit and talk with them about the sacrifices they made for our country," he said.
"This is a very special place for us to be on this very special day," Seaman Ryan Shipman, 20, from Naples, Fla. added. "Yesterday I spent time with some veterans of both the Korean war and from the conflict in Vietnam and I can't say how proud I was just to be in their company during the Memorial holiday."
The sailors from the USS New York also met the mother of US Navy Seal Lieutenant Michael Murphy, from Smithtown, LI, who was slain in 2005 and had a US Navy destroyer named after him in honor of his bravery during the war in Afghanistan.
"It's a very special day for us as we remember all servicemen and women that came before us and especially the one's that didn't come home," said Staff Sergeant Grime, 30, a marine from North Carolina.
With additional reporting by Paul Lomax.