WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The United States Navy Memorial hosted the 21st Annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony at the memorial in Washington, D.C., April 14.
The ceremony followed the Washington, D.C., annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, and featured the United States Navy Band and Ceremonial Guard, along with a Parade of Attaches and presentation of colors advanced across the memorial's outdoor plaza as the event commenced.
President and CEO of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, retired Vice Adm. John Totushek, welcomed guests to the centuries-old tradition.
"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," said Totushek.
Retired Capt. C. Richard Duncan, CHC, offered a blessing to safeguard crews and ships from the danger of the seas, as a Sailor from the U.S. Navy's Ceremonial Guard proceeded 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 ushering in the spring season.
Following the ceremony, culinary specialists from the White House Mess prepared and served Navy bean soup to guests in the Naval Heritage Center.
The Washington Revels Maritime Voices gave a musical performance in the Naval Heritage Center's Burke Theater. Singing "Songs of the Sea and Shore," the musical group portrayed the old life at sea and back home, including the Sailors' use of sea chanteys and the joys and hardships of the women ashore.
Guests were also welcome to explore the memorial's newly-launched "Year of the Chief" exhibit, depicting chief life, work, history and accomplishments through historical artifacts, art and imagery. The exhibit, on display through March 2013, is free and open to the public and will be accompanied by numerous public events throughout the year, including book signings, children's activities and ceremonies for active duty personnel and their families.
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