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Memorial Day in NYC honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice "for our country, for our way of life"

New Yorkers make the best of a rainy Memorial Day
New Yorkers make the best of a rainy Memorial Day 05:21

NEW YORK -- New York City honored the servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country on this Memorial Day.

From somber wreath-laying ceremonies, to a more-than-century-old parade, here's a look at how the city observed the holiday. 

See our list of parades and events that were held around the area.

Memorial Day wreath laying at Intrepid Museum

NYC honors Memorial Day with the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. CBS New York

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum held its annual wreath-laying ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday on Manhattan's West Side.

The patriotic and powerful tribute at Pier 86 honored those who answered the call to serve and paid the ultimate price.

"We're proud to go over there to show the flag, we're proud to wear the uniform. We're proud of this country, like we still are today," said Mike Hallahan, Aviation Metal Smith 3rd Class on the USS Intrepid.

"Memorial Day, to me, is a time to reflect. It's a time to think about those who gave the ultimate for our country, for our way of life, for our nation," said Admiral Daryl Caudle, Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces. "I think it's a time to instill hope. And when you see all the Sailors and Marines and Coast Guardsmen around today, to think about that we are still the greatest country in the world. We did that because of the ultimate sacrifice those that went before us gave."

Mayor Eric Adams was on hand, as four wreaths, representing the branches of the military, were placed into the water.

157th annual parade in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

NYC honors Memorial Day with the 157th annual parade in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. CBS New York

Memorial Day parades also marched across the five boroughs, including the 157th annual parade in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

It stepped off at 11 a.m. from 78th Street and 3rd Avenue, led by the NYPD band and members of the 68th precinct. They were followed by the All-City High School Marching Band, floats by United Military Vets, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, plus dance teams and drum lines.

"It honors us, and we honor it," said Brooklyn resident Theresa Smith. "Air Force, Army, Navy -- you name it, we did it. As I said, women vets rock, we do everything the men do, and then some."

"There's a lot of things that we do and sacrifices that we make every day," said Brooklyn resident John Ra. "The ones who have gone before us and fell down in the line of duty, I just think it's very important to show that support."

The parade marched about 30 minutes south to Marine Avenue. Then, a memorial service was held at John Paul Jones Park, with a flag raising and 21-gun salute.

101-year-old veteran returns to Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

NYC honors Memorial Day at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Riverside Drive. CBS New York

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Riverside Drive was built to commemorate the New Yorkers who died in the Civil War. But on Memorial Day, hundreds came out to pay their respects to all servicemembers.

Organizers said Dr. George Chall founded the ceremony 23 years ago, and it's still going strong. 

"We brought communities of veterans of all backgrounds together and honored them in such a way that they were proud to be a part of the ceremony," he told CBS New York.   

Chall was a medic at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. Now 101 years old, he came all the way from North Carolina for the event.

"I'm very proud of him and I'm very proud of anyone who serves our country, because freedom is not free," said his wife, Victoria Chall. 

Two wreaths symbolizing the beauty and brevity of life were laid at the monument to honor their sacrifice. 

Catholic cemeteries host Memorial Day masses

New Jersey honors Memorial Day with Catholic mass at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington. CBS New York

In New Jersey, hundreds of Catholics gathered for a Memorial Day mass at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington. 

"There was a good group of people who came here to pray for their loved ones and to pray for the community and those who have given their lives -- not only in the armed forces, but in local police and county jurisdictions," Archbishop of Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin told CBS New York.

Holy Cross was one of thousands of Catholic cemeteries across the country hosting a national Memorial Day celebration.

Jan Kornak, a combat veteran who served in the Vietnam War, has been coming to the mass since he was 15 years old. Elizabeth Valente, 91, has also been attending for decades. She asked the cardinal to pray for her grandson, who is a Navy SEAL.

"Very proud, but keeps me praying," she said.

After the mass wrapped up, CBS New York spotted Lois Renner putting up American flags near the 9/11 memorial across the street from the cemetery. 

"I think it's really important that we show, that we memorialize them," she said. 

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