On April 14, the United States Navy Memorial served as host for the 21st Annual Blessing of the Fleet.
The ceremony was held at the memorial in Washington D.C., and followed the annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. The event included the United States Navy Band and Ceremonial Guard, along with a Parade of Attachés and presentation of colors advanced across the memorial’s outdoor plaza.
Retired Vice Adm. John Totushek, president and CEO of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, gave the following welcome message to guests who took part in the “centuries-old tradition.” He said: “We feel privileged to take part in this time-honored tradition that not only holds great meaning for our men and women of the Navy and Sea Services today, but also kicks off a full season of events here at the Navy Memorial that ensures their legacy will live on forever.”
A blessing to safeguard crews and ships from the dangers of the sea was offered by retired Capt. C. Richard Duncan, CHC, while a Sailor from the U.S. Navy’s Ceremonial Guard went across the memorial “Granite Sea” plaza, to pour water from the Seven Seas and the Great Lakes into the surrounding fountains, “charging” them to life and welcoming spring.
The ceremony was followed by the serving of Navy bean soup to guests in the Naval Heritage Center, which were prepared by White House Mess culinary specialists.
The event also featured a performance by the Washington Revels Maritime Voices, who sang “Songs of the Sea and Shore.”