I had the pleasure of traveling back to my hometown of Grand Haven, Michigan not long ago to spend a great vacation with family and friends. It was the first time in ages my entire immediate family was together. We all stayed in one house, 13 in total (with 5 kids!) and we survived! 😉 The trip began with a fun family reunion and then transitioned into one of my favorite events of the summer, the US Coast Guard Festival. Grand Haven is “Coast Guard City USA” and celebrates the Coast Guard for a full week with a variety of fun activities and concerts. It is capped off by a great parade and spectacular fireworks. The crowds are so big we put blankets down for the parade and fireworks days in advance!
One of the highlights of the week is the National Remembrance Ceremony for lost members of the Coast Guard during the past year, as well as to remember those lost in the Escanaba (http://www.uscg.mil/lantarea/cgcEscanaba/history.asp) 70 years ago. It was a very moving ceremony, complete with a 21 gun salute, the playing of Taps and a flyby of one of the Coast Guard helicopters. The most touching part was when the family and close friends of those that were lost placed flowers at the base of the memorial wreath.
I have incredibly heartfelt respect for those serving in our United States Coast Guard, along with the rest of our armed services. The USCG saved 3560 lives and over $77M in property last year, among many other things. Their motto of “Semper Paratus” means “always ready” and they’ve proved that since 1790.
Below I’ve included a few photographs from the memorial service.
Thank you to all of those that have served and continue to – we’re all grateful for your service. May the fallen rest in peace.