The United States Navy Memorial

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

25th Annual Blessing of the Fleets & Opening of the Year of the Marine Corps

April 16, 2016

Saturday 4/16/2016 1:00 PM

Passed down through generations of mariners and navies, the U.S. Navy Memorial’s 25th annual Blessing of the Fleets will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2016 from 1:00-5:00 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 and Marines from the U.S. Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, 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, culinary professionals 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 Revel’s Maritime Voices in the Burke Theater. 
This year’s Blessing of the Fleets marks the launch of the U.S. Navy Memorial’s “Year of the Marine Corps” exhibit.  The new exhibit honors the Marine Corps’ proud tradition of service, running through March 2017. It showcases the history of the Marine Corps as well as its current mission and goals for the future. The exhibit features rare historical artifacts, artwork and recruiting posters.  Marine Corps themed special presentations, lectures, book events, and panel discussions are planned throughout the year.
25th Annual Blessing of the Fleets
Saturday, April 16th 2016
1:00 p.m.     
-Blessing of the Fleets Ceremony
-“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band
-Joint United States Marine and Navy Ceremonial Guard
-Presentation of Colors
-National Anthem
-VADM John B. Totushek, USN (Ret.), President  & CEO, US Navy Memorial Foundation
Keynote Remarks
-LtGen David H. Berger, USMC, Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force
-RDML Brent W. Scott, CHC, USN, Chaplain of the Marine Corps
Charging of the Fountains
-Joint United States Marine and Navy Ceremonial Guard 
-“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band
2:00 p.m.          
-Navy Bean Soup
-Prepared and served by the Navy White House Mess, Inside the Naval Heritage Center
-An Afternoon of Maritime Music
-Marine Band’s Free Country Ensemble
-Washington Revels Maritime Voices
Mark Weber                                                                           
United States Navy Memorial                                             
(202) 380-0723