If you missed Fleet Week in 2013, I did, too. Unfortunately, it was scrapped due to government budget cuts. Do not despair! Fleet Week will be back from May 21 through May 27. Visiting New York for the 26th year will be members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Fleet Week began in 1984 and serves as a way for residents of New York City and the tri-state area to meet members of the service and to learn the latest capabilities of today’s military. You do not want to miss the parade of ships on May 21. It is the most beautiful display as they pass under the Verrazano Bridge.
It seems like just yesterday that I remember Dad bringing his four children down to tour the aircraft carriers--these huge Navy ships docked in St. George. I was in awe of these gigantic floating homes for so many men and could not imagine, in my child’s mind, what they did all day. Was this their job? I do remember my father, who was in the Air Force as a young man, explaining different features of these ships and helping us up and down the ladders. Being an awkward little girl, it was not an easy task. Dad asked plenty of questions, and I learned a lot about the Navy and the goings on aboard these ships during these outings. In 2012, I accompanied my son, daughter-in-law and grandson, Gerard, to his first Fleet Week. I guess I’m a mush, but I enjoyed it so very much more through the eyes of this young child. His eyes darted everywhere as he held on to his mom and dad. The crew allowed a hands-on interactive tour, encouraging the youngsters as well as oldsters to ring the bells, turn the wheels and gears of every kind, get a feel of actually living on the ship and also, shared their responsibilities and duties with us.
There were a number of ships docked at the Stapleton Home Port when we attended not only from the United States but from Indonesia and Brazil. The servicemen answered any questions posed to them. They all seemed excited to be in New York. Some I spoke with come from the City and looked forward to visiting family.
The organizer of this year’s event are asking local restaurants and catering halls to donate meals and provide volunteers to help feed the visiting members of the military. More than 1,500 school children will be touring the ships. The public is invited to tour between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. There will also be demonstrations by the Coast Guard as well as the Splash festival featuring ten local bands who will perform on Saturday, May 24 through Monday, May 26th. The visiting sailors will also give back to their hosts by volunteering at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen and Meals on Wheels as well as helping with Hurricane Sandy recovery assisting Habitat for Humanity in reconstruction.
I am especially looking forward to attending this year as Gerard is closer to three years old and never stops asking questions. He is curious as well as smart, and I know he will be quizzing us for a long time after we attend Fleet Week this year.
If you would like to volunteer, visit www.sifleet.com. Let me know what your favorite part of Fleet Week is, share your pictures on this blog, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 646-258-9696.
Associate Real Estate Broker
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