CLEVELAND (NNS) — Cleveland Navy Week and War of 1812 Commemoration kicked off early Aug. 27 with a rock concert and ended with an official proclamation from the mayor.
In the morning, variety band Liberty Call performed a free 30-minute show in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame atrium. The group is one of 17 ensembles assigned to U.S. Navy Band Great Lakes.
“We’ve all wanted to be rock stars since we were kids, so what better place to perform?” said Musician 3rd Class James Choate of Oklahoma. Choate has played the trombone for 13 years.
The nine-piece group played a set of Top 40, R&B and classic rock. Banners with the faces of music icons David Bowie, Elvis and Janis Joplin hung in the rafters above the band as they belted out hits of Hall of Fame inductees.
“They were fantastic. I can honestly say it was one of the best performances we’ve ever had here at the Rock Hall,” said sales assistant Megan Mihalich.
As the day progressed, Sailors spread out across the city for several community engagement events. Sailors played basketball with kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, while others offered manpower at the Habitat for Humanity warehouse. Navy divers also took a swim in the tanks at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium for visitors’ enjoyment.
Three of the ships to be featured at Cleveland Navy Week; USS De Wert (FFG 45), USS Hurricane (PC 3) and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay (WTGB 101) arrived at the Port of Cleveland. They will be joined by the U.S. Brig Niagara and two Canadian vessels, HMCS Moncton (MM 708) and HMCS Summerside (MM 711).
Meantime, the opening ceremonies commenced at the Cleveland City Hall rotunda. Amanda Hall, wife of Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Thomas Hall of Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Akron, sang the national anthem. NOSC Akron Commanding Officer Cdr. Eric Johnson delivered opening remarks, followed by speeches from U.S. Navy Capt. William Seaman, chief of staff, Carrier Strike Group 2, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander, 9th Coast Guard District and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
“I happen to believe service is an honorable calling,” said Jackson. He went on to congratulate all service members on their sacrifices and dedication.
The Navy presented the city of Cleveland with a commemoration plaque to thank the city for its hospitality.
The Navy’s Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 in Cleveland is one of 15 signature events planned across America in 2012. The weeklong event commemorates the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, hosting service members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.
For more information about Cleveland Navy Week 2012, visit www.navyweek.org.
For more information about the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, visit www.ourflagwasstillthere.org.