Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom for Annual Blessing of the Fleet Ceremony
Washington, D.C. -- Passed down through generations of sailors, the United States Navy Memorial’s annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony will begin at 1:00pm on Saturday, April 14. A popular attraction during the National Cherry Blossom Festival—the largest springtime festival in the nation—the Blessing of the Fleet is free and open to the public immediately following the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.
The Blessing of the Fleet tradition 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 ceremony, sailors from the U.S. Navy’s Ceremonial Guard proceed across Navy Memorial’s outdoor plaza known as “the Granite Sea” to pour water from the Seven Seas and Great Lakes into the surrounding fountains. This annual blessing recharges the water, bringing the fountains back to life in time for the spring season. Ceremonial music will be provided by the world renowned U.S. Navy Band.
This year, water for the ceremony was obtained from interesting places including the beaches of Iwo Jima, by a submarine that had broken through the ice as part of Operation ICEX, and from the Strait of Malacca where the South Pacific meets the Indian Ocean.
Following the ceremony, Navy culinary specialists from the White House Mess will prepare and serve Navy bean soup in the adjacent Visitors Center. Guests are also invited to enjoy a free concert of traditional maritime music by the Washington Revels’ Maritime Voices.
Rear Admiral John B. Nowell, Jr., Director of Military Personnel Plans and Policy (N13), will speak at this event. He is currently serving on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.
About the United States Navy Memorial
The Navy Memorial, located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, consists of a large plaza with a granite map of the world, the iconic Lone Sailor statue, 3,500 square-foot museum area, a 240-person theater, the Ship’s Store which sells Navy memorabilia and the Navy Log, the nation’s largest publicly available data base of sea service veterans. Our mission is to Honor, Recognize and Celebrate the men and women of the Sea Services, past, present and future; and to inform the public about their service. We do that mission with the support of tens of thousands of members and Corporate Partners including USAA, Huntington Ingalls Industry, Veritas, CACI, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Money Reserve, DXC Technology, NewDay USA, Ernst & Young, General Dynamics, Navy Mutual Aid, Pratt & Whitney, and Capital Bank. To learn more, please visit navymemorial.org