The Blessing of the Fleet is a centuries-old tradition that protects sailors from the dangers of the sea. Last weekend, in our nation’s capital, a very special Blessing of the Fleet took place at the U.S. Navy Memorial. The Navy Memorial is not located on the Potomac River, or any body of water. It is located in the heart of the Washington, D.C. so water provided by the U.S. Navy from the Seven Seas and the Great Lakes is used to bring the commemorative fountains to life.

It is a symbolic gesture that tourists, D.C. residents, and many military and their families travel to see. This year was particularly special because it was the first time the fountains have been “charged” in three years due to the pandemic and significant renovations.

“[The Navy Memorial] is not merely a memorial of stones and water that we preserve here,” said Charles F. Samms III, Director of the National Park Service. “It is the sacred thanks of a grateful nation for the service, sacrifice, and professionalism of the United States Navy and its sailors and one that we will care for with the reverence that it commands.”
The Blessing of the Fleet also marked the reopening of the U.S. Navy Memorial’s Visitors Center. This hidden gem in the sea of Washington memorials and museums also underwent renovations and adaptations during the pandemic.

“The Navy Memorial is back,” said Admiral John C. Harvey, USN-Retired and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation. “Our Visitor’s Center is alive! It’s informative. It’s engaging and it’s interactive. We’ve made a significant move to digital programming taking our mission to honor and celebrate our sailors and marines across the country.”
The Visitor’s Center is home to more than 700,000 stories of service and interactive exhibits. Naval enthusiasts, families, service members, and the general public were treated to experience the exhibits firsthand after friends and supporters officially cut the ribbon and welcomed in the public. The White House Mess was also on hand to serve up traditional Navy Bean soup to attendees.

The Navy Memorial is a living memorial that pays tribute to the men and women of the United States Navy. Its commitment to honoring that mission did not waiver during the pandemic, however, with the reopening of the Visitors Center, many more can experience the powerful stories of service and learn more about the men and women who serve.


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photo made available by @NavyMemorial (twiter)