Small Memorial Day ceremony onboard Battleship New Jersey

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial in Camden remains closed for tours due to coronavirus, but a ceremony was still held on Monday to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Since the battleship was turned into a museum, we've always been able to hold the ceremonies on board the ship," according to battleship curator Ryan Szimanski.

But this year was a little different.

Unable to host the usual gathering with social distancing restrictions, the ceremony was streamed live on Facebook.

Szimanksi explained more than one-third of the battleship staff are veterans.

"Many of them are combat veterans, and not all their buddies came home so it is especially important for them and their families," Szimanski emphasized.

Vietnam Army veteran Michael Hayes is Director of Accounting and Human Resources at the Battleship New Jersey.

"Memorial Day is very special to me. An Act of Congress took this one day and said we are going to remember and honor our fallen heroes. So to me, you can't have it any other day. It's got to be today," Hayes said.

As the ceremony ended, a memorial wreath was cast on the Delaware River, and a salute sounded from the battleship guns.

"People call it a holiday, but they forget what holiday means. Holiday is 'holy day', and this is a holy day," Hayes explained.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.