The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honor, recognize, & celebrate the men and women of the sea services.

Blessing of the Fleets

April 8, 2017

U.S. Navy Memorial ANNOUNCES 26th Annual Blessing of the Fleets

Navy Memorial to Honor Sailors, Marines & Mariners with Traditional Ceremony,

Maritime Music and Exhibit Openings, April 8, 2017

1:00pm to 4:00pm


Washington, D.C.– Passed down through generations of mariners and navies, the U.S. Navy Memorial’s 26th annual Blessing of the Fleets will take place on Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 1:00-4:00 pm.  A popular attraction during the National Cherry Blossom Festival—the largest springtime festival in the nation—this event is free and open to the public immediately following the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.

The Blessing of the Fleets ritual is intended to safeguard crews and ships from the danger of the seas through a blessing given by a clergyman at the water’s edge.  During the Navy Memorial’s ceremony, sailors from the U.S. Navy’s Ceremonial Guard proceed across the outdoor plaza’s “Granite Sea” to pour water from the Seven Seas and Great Lakes into the surrounding fountains, “charging” them to life and welcoming the spring season.  Ceremonial music will be provided by the world renowned U.S. Navy Band.

Following the ceremony, Navy culinary specialists from the White House Mess will prepare and serve Navy bean soup to visitors in the adjacent Naval Heritage Center.  Guests are also invited to enjoy a free concert of traditional maritime music by the Washington Revels’ Maritime Voices in the Burke Theater.

This year’s Blessing of the Fleets marks the launch of the Navy Memorial’s newest exhibits including “America’s Navy,”  “The Year of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy,” and “The Navy Since 9-11.” 

26th Annual Blessing of the Fleets

Saturday, April 8th 2017


1:00 p.m.            

Blessing of the Fleets Ceremony

United States Navy Band

United State Navy Ceremonial Guard

Presentation of Colors

National Anthem



Rear Adm. Frank Thorp IV, USN (Ret.), President & CEO, US Navy Memorial

Keynote Remarks

MCPON Steven S. Giordano, USN, 14th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy


Charging of the Fountains

United States Navy Ceremonial Guard


United States Navy Band


  2:00 p.m.          

Navy Bean Soup

Prepared and served by the Navy White House Mess, Inside the Naval Heritage Center

2:30 p.m.

Free Concert of Maritime Music in the Naval Heritage Center’s Burke Theater

Washington Revels Maritime Voices celebrates the sea and the inland waterways of America— the men who worked the great sailing ships, the women who sustained the shore-side communities, and the men and women who lived and worked on the canals, lakes and rivers.  Formed in 2008, this group performs lively songs, instrumental music, dances, folk dramas, and other traditions of the 19th Century.  The group performs in period dress and explains the origin and historical context of the music it performs.

About the United States Navy Memorial

Conveniently located on Pennsylvania Avenue – halfway between the White House and the Capitol, the Navy Memorial’s outdoor plaza features the “Granite Sea” map of the world, towering flag masts, fountains and the iconic Lone Sailor© statue.  Located nearby, the Naval Heritage Center features exhibits, educational programs and events honoring the men and women of the Sea Services (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and merchant marine), past and present.  Also housed in the Naval Heritage Center is the Navy Log – the permanent registry of sea service.  Call (202) 737-2300 or visit for more information. 

Contact:               Mark Weber

United States Navy Memorial

(202) 380-0723