Fleet Week 2012 in New York City set sail yesterday with a parade of tall ships and our modern war vessels down the Hudson River. This year marks the 25th anniversary for Fleet Week in NYC, as well as the bicentennial of the start of the War of 1812. Those of you up on your history know that the War of 1812 began due to the British seizing American ships and pressing sailors against their will into service. The outraged Americans demanded that President James Madison declare war against England to protect our right to navigate the seas. Today, the U.S. Navy leads the world in protecting the planet′s sea lanes. So with Memorial Day weekend approaching, New York has once again opened its arms and hearts to our brave American sailors!
I have to admit a personal passion for all things nautical. My father was a veteran of World War Two, fighting during the harsh days of the Battle for the North Atlantic as a volunteer with the Free Polish Navy. There were many dark, grim days as German U-boats came dangerously close to cutting off the life line to Great Britain. One of my favorite movies is ″The Cruel Sea″, which charts the crew of a British corvette as it struggles against both the Nazis and the ever indifferent Atlantic Ocean. Icy winds and 40-foot swells do not care whose flag you fly under or why.
So hats off to Fleet Week 2012, NYC style! New York launched its 25th year of Fleet Week with a wonderful parade of tall ships, with their sails unfurled, as well as more modern examples of the US Navy, such as missile frigates and an F-18 Hornet Blue Angel fly-by. This year also celebrates the bicentennial of the War of 1812, which got its start on the high seas. Fleet Week comes to us as Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer season in America. So anchors aweigh and grab a soft pretzel! The Big Apple is going Navy!