On Saturday, April 16, both the Marine Band and its popular music ensemble, Free Country, will perform as part of the U.S. Navy’s 25th annual Blessing of the Fleets. Both performances will take place at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. The festivities begin at 1 p.m., following the Cherry Blossom 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 ceremony, sailors from the U.S. Navy’s Ceremonial Guard and Marines from Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., 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. This year’s event marks the launch of the memorial’s “Year of the Marine Corps” exhibit and in that honor, the Marine Band will open and close the ceremony.
Following the ceremony at 2 p.m., attendees are invited to enjoy navy bean soup served in the Naval Heritage Center adjacent to the memorial. At 2:30 p.m., Free Country will perform an hour-long free concert at the memorial.
All events are free and open to the public. The U.S. Navy Memorial is located at 701 N. Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest Washington, D.C.