U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New York District Commander Col. Matthew Luzzatto attended the 2020 Veterans Day Salute to Veterans ceremony held on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid, the centerpiece of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.
Col. Luzzatto represented the New York District and U.S. Army at the event honoring and remembering all U.S. Veterans ̶ those who lost their lives in military service and those serving our Nation.
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is an educational institution profiling American innovation and bravery. The event, held in conjunction with the United War Veterans Council, a nonprofit serving American Veterans, was attended by military veterans, active duty military and New York City officials.
Speaking about the significance of Veterans Day, Col. Luzzatto said: “It’s important we, as a Nation, recognize the sacrifices U.S. Veterans made ̶ and continue to make ̶ protecting our basic freedoms. Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the service of the brave men and women whose efforts preserve the way of life we enjoy today. We owe them much.”
The socially-distanced, scaled-down ceremony included remarks from Intrepid Museum and Veterans Council officials, the City of New York, and U.S. Navy. Remarks were followed by two commemorative wreaths tossed into the Hudson River by U.S. Veterans with the HAYWARD, an Army Corps work vessel, nearby displaying the American Flag. The event was broadcast live on the museum's social media page and at least one major media outlet.
Veterans Day: Meaning & History
Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or deceased—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday in 1938. Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 325,000 were still living in 2020. Three million veterans have served in support of the War on Terrorism.
Chief of Engineers Thanks Veterans
In an e-mail to employees, Army Corps Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon said: “I especially want to recognize team members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who are Veterans. We have employees and retirees who served in World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as peacekeeping duty in Bosnia and Kosovo. Whether you served in peace or war, thank you for your service, for your sacrifices, and your family's sacrifices.”
USS Intrepid Background
In 1982, the retired Navy aircraft carrier became the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. In 2006, officials of the Intrepid Foundation decided the ship needed repairs, refurbishment and a rebuilt public pier to serve some 700,000 visitors each year.
Later that year, the museum received a federal permit from USACE to dredge an access channel from the berthing area to the main federal channel of the Hudson River to move the vessel to Bayonne, New Jersey, for inspection and repairs. The dredging operation removed approximately 16,000 cubic yards of sediment.
In addition, an "Intrepid on Leave" celebration was conducted by Intrepid Foundation officials to give the ship an elaborate send-off to its temporary home. Several public service agencies' vessels were invited to escort the ship downriver, with four Army Corps workboats leading the flotilla.