NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was a sea of red, white and blue from the deck of the Intrepid to cities big and small this Memorial Day.

Americans paused to remember the courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Hundreds of veterans, active duty members and elected officials like Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum’s annual ceremony.

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The event included the unfurling of a 100-foot American flag and the laying of commemorative wreaths in the water, plus a Navy jet flyover.

Some of the veterans in attendance served in conflicts dating back to World War II.

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“I remember the shipmates that got killed on my ship,” said WWII veteran Ed Coyne. Coyne, 95, served on the Intrepid. He returned Monday to say a few words of his own about servicemen and women that never made it back to shore.

“You have to include everybody. But you include the ones that you knew, that you may have had breakfast with in the morning, and they’re gone,” Coyne said.l

He got to memorialize his fallen friends as a ceremonial wreath layer, a tradition that takes place at the legendary aircraft carrier every Memorial Day. Taps was played as the symbolic circles were carried away by the current.

Up on the flight deck, Marine Corps veteran James Bishop held a picture of the men he served with. Some died, the 92-year-old said, so that we may fully live.

“I’m a veteran of World War II. I was under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific,” Bishop told CBS2’s Tara Jakeway. “These Sailors and Marines died for our freedom that we enjoy today.”

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Vietnam War veteran Stan Wright also carried a picture on board.

“That’s the Vietnam wall in Washington, D.C. I’ve got 12 friends on that wall,” Wright said.

In memoriam of all those men and women, a 100-foot American flag was unfurled by active military.

U.S. Marine Michael Hernandez comes from a military family and is the youngest of three Marines.

“Memorial Day means a lot to me,” he told Duddridge.

His brother is currently serving overseas, and he said he prays every day his brother will make it back. He also prays for those who didn’t.

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“We honor them each and every day. Every time I see a veteran, I like shaking their hand,” he said. “They thank me for my service, but I thank them for their service, as well.”

There were a lot of hugs and handshakes from grateful Americans at the ceremony, Jakeway reported. The soundtrack of the event was a mix of somber remembrance and the roar of Navy jets above.