US Navy Blesses the Fleet

While the US Air Force still only needs two digits to measure its age, the US Navy, or naval power in general, has been around for multiple centuries.  With that long history comes many centuries-old traditions, including the annual “Blessing of the Fleet.”  An official Navy article gives a quick note:

The Blessing of the Fleets ceremony is a centuries-old ceremony rooted in seafaring heritage around the world…

and then proceeds to focus on the “Year of Military Women.”

Another Navy site, a non-governmental organization that runs the US Navy Memorial that hosts the annual event, described the event this way:

The centuries-old “Blessing of the Fleets” ceremony is intended to safeguard crews and ships from the danger of the seas through a traditional blessing given by a clergyman at the water’s edge.

The Blessing of the Fleets’ highlight occurs when Sailors from the U.S. Navy’s Ceremonial Guard proceed across the Memorial Plaza’s “Granite Sea” to pour water from the Seven Seas and the Great Lakes into the surrounding fountains, “charging” them to life and ushering in the spring season. Ceremonial music is provided by the U.S. Navy Band.

The official Navy article contained basically the same story — except the part about the clergyman.

(Besides the US Navy, many coastal towns hold their own “blessing of the fleet” events for their local maritime industry.)